Slowest in nation: San Diego home price gains stall

Resale home prices in the San Diego metro area increased the slowest in the nation in December, 2.3 percent in a year, said the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices released Tuesday.

While prices are still going up, slightly beating inflation, it is a major reversal of fortunes in the 20-city index considering San Diego prices were among the top four in the nation 13 months earlier.

The last time San Diego metro was in the bottom spot in the index was in October 1996, back when the index was 19 cities. It had never been in the bottom spot since it expanded to 20 cities in 2000.

The last time San Diego metro’s annual price increases were so slow was August 2012.

Annual nationwide price increases were 4.7 percent in December with the biggest price gains in Las Vegas (11.4 percent), Phoenix (8 percent) and Atlanta (5.9 percent).

Experts say rising mortgage interest rates are much of the cause of the slowdown in high-priced markets. David Blitzer, managing director of the index, said a major factor could also be wage growth not keeping up with housing costs. He said wage gains were around 3.5 to 4 percent last year, still below the nationwide home price increase.

“There have been a few places with very sharp reversals,” Blitzer said. “I think a lot of times prices are just outpacing people’s ability to pay in a lot of places.”

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