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US home prices rise at slower rate in March

homepricesALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — U.S. home prices rose in March in major metro areas, but the gains are decelerating as fewer Americans can afford to buy.

The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 12.4 percent in March compared with 12 months earlier. While healthy, that increase is down from February and January.

Home prices rose in 19 of the 20 cities in March compared with the previous month, with only New York registering a slight decline. Home prices rose 2.4 percent in San Francisco and 1.9 percent in Seattle.

Case-Shiller measures no New Mexico cities but Albuquerque area prices showed a rebound in March, rising by an average of 3.9 percent from a year earlier, according to a report released by CoreLogic earlier this month. That increase followed a 3.5 percent year-over-year increase in February, giving the metro its strongest consecutive months for home price increases in several years.

Home prices increased by an average of 2.5 percent statewide in March, fifth lowest among the 50 states, according to CoreLogic’s Home Price Index. Only Arkansas posted a decrease.


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“Home prices continue to rise across the nation, but affordability, tight credit and supply concerns are becoming an increasing drag on purchase market activity,” said Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic, in a prepared statement.

Sellers and buyers appear to heading to the sidelines as the affordability, credit and supply issues sort themselves out, the report says.

As of March, the average home price in New Mexico was running at 20 percent below the peak price of April 2007. The average home price nationwide was 16 percent below its April 2006 peak. Home prices were at or within 10 percent of the peak price in 23 states as of March.