Average sales prices of homes have been rising, but not as fast as a year or two ago. Atlanta ranks fourth among the nation’s large metros, according to the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index for June is released. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Photo: AP Photo/Steve Helber
Photo: AP Photo/Steve Helber

Atlanta home-price climb levels off, Case-Shiller says

The growth of metro Atlanta home prices leveled off over the past several months, but the rest of the nation’s big metro areas are tapping the brakes, according to a much-watched monthly survey.

The average sales price of a previously-sold home in Atlanta was up 4% during the past 12 months, the same increase for the region as a month ago, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Index, released Tuesday. A year ago, Atlanta’s prices were rising at a 5.7% pace.

The big 20 metros averaged just a 2% rise in prices. Until a few months ago, at least one or two metros reported monthly that prices were rising at a double-digit pace.

In Tuesday’s report, the largest increase was in Phoenix, where prices were up 6.3%. Charlotte with 4.5% had the second-highest increase, followed by Tampa with a 4.3% rise.

The report, which does not include new construction, showed one metro where prices dipped: San Francisco’s average home sales price notched down 0.1% during the past year. San Francisco has some of the highest home prices in the nation.

The overall U.S. average, which includes many smaller metros, rose 3.2% over the past 12 months.

The market seems to be stabilizing, rather than weakening, said economist Matthew Speakman of internet real estate company Zillow. “Demand for housing is staying strong, and homebuyers remain optimistic about the state of the market.”

He called a sharp slowdown unlikely.

But if it weren’t for cheap mortgage rates, the market might already have turned down, said Ralph McLaughlin, deputy chief economist for CoreLogic, a company that analyzes financial and real estate data.

“Mortgage rates this low at the end of an economic cycle (are) nearly unprecedented, and may be very well keeping the housing market and U.S. economy afloat,” he said.

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