The S&P/Case-Shiller home price index for November showed another month of solid gains. The 20-city composite rose 13.7% year-over-year, equal to the consensus estimate for the month. The 10-city index rose 13.8% year-over-year in November.
The index tracks prices on a three-month rolling average. November represents the three-month average of September, October and November prices.
On a month-over-month basis, November prices slipped 0.1% on both the 10-city composite index and the 20-city composite index. That marks the first sequential decrease in the index since November 2012. Economists had estimated gains of 0.8% seasonally adjusted for the 20-city index and 0.3% non-seasonally adjusted.
Price gains were surprisingly strong in Atlanta, Detroit and Cleveland, non-Sun Belt cities that bucked the trend.
The chairman of the S&P index committee said:
November was a good month for home prices. Despite the slight decline, the 10-City and 20-City Composites showed their best November performance since 2005. Prices typically weaken as we move closer to the winter. Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Phoenix stand out as they have posted 20 or more consecutive monthly gains. … Looking at the year-over-year returns, the Sun Belt continues to push ahead with Atlanta, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco and Tampa taking eight of the top nine spots. Detroit continues to recover but remains the only city with prices below its 2000 level.
Since the most recent Case-Shiller index was released, homebuilder stocks have gotten a positive jolt. The best performer has been D.R. Horton Inc. (NYSE: DHI), up about 7.5%, followed by Lennar Corp. (NYSE: LEN), up about 3%. KB Home (NYSE: KBH) is up 2% and PulteGroup Inc. (NYSE: PHM) up about 2.5%.
The iShares Dow Jones US Home Construction (NYSEMKT: ITB) was up about 2.6% Tuesday morning, having closed the previous night at $23.62 in a 52-week range of $20.18 to $26.21.