U.S. home prices rose in May in most major metro areas from a year earlier at the weakest pace in 15 months as sales remain modest in the spring buying season.

The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index, released Tuesday, increased 9.3 percent in May from 12 months earlier. That’s down from 10.8 percent in the previous month and the smallest annual gain since February 2013.

Yearly price gains slowed in 18 of the 20 cities. They accelerated in Charlotte, North Carolina, and were flat in Tampa, Florida.

The index measures no New Mexico cities, but a separate measure has showed several months of modest gains in Albuquerque and the state.

The latest CoreLogic’s Home Price Index, which tracks the price movement of repeat home sales, showed that after ending 2013 with a 2.5 percent decline, home prices in the Albuquerque metro are have inched up in each of the first five months of 2014.

In New Mexico, average home prices increased 1.1 percent in May compared with a year earlier. As of May, the average price statewide was 13.9 percent below the 2007 peak.

Albuquerque and the state as a whole have lagged a more than two-year run of year-over-year home-price increases nationwide, according to the Irvine, Calif.-based provider of real-estate data and analysis.

The Case-Shiller index showed home prices soared last fall and winter but have been steadily returning to a more sustainable level this year. Existing home sales have picked up, rising to an eight-month high in June. But they are still 2.3 percent below last year’s level. And an index of signed contracts dipped in June, suggesting sales will cool. At the same time, the number of homes for sale has increased, giving buyers more choices.

After steady gains early last year, home sales have been restrained by weak wage increases and tight credit, particularly for first-time buyers. Mortgage rates also rose last summer, slowing sales.

 

Original Article By: Christopher S. Rugaber- The Associated Press