US sees slowdown in house price rise

Construction workers pass bricks to each other in Phoenix, ArizonaThe pace of price rises slowed in 19 of the 20 US cities surveyed

The pace of US house price rises slowed in September, as higher mortgage rates and concern about a government shutdown weighed on the market.

The closely-watched SP/Case Shiller index saw a 0.7% price rise, against a 1.3% gain from July-to-August.

Case Shiller measures single-family home prices in 20 cities. Rises slowed in 19 cities, while one saw a fall.

Despite the slowdown, prices are still 13.3% up on September 2012, the fastest gain for more than seven years.

Prices rose 1.3% in Las Vegas, compared with a 2.9% month-on-month gain in August. Home prices rose just 0.2% in Tampa, Florida, after a 1.8% gain in August. Charlotte, in North Carolina, was the only city to see a price fall.

Meanwhile, US developers received approval in October to build apartments at the fastest pace in five years, according to data from the Commerce Department.

Permits to build houses and apartments were approved at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.034 million, a 6.2% rise on the September rate of 974,000 and the fastest since June 2008.

Nearly all of the increase was for multi-family homes, a sector of residential construction popular in the rentals market.

Permits for single-family houses, which make up roughly two-thirds of the market, rose 0.8% to 620,000. That was slightly below the August pace of 627,000.

Confidence in the housing market slowed in the run-up to the partial US government shutdown in October, according to a survey by the National Association of Home Builders.

Rising home loan rates have also led to caution among buyers. Fixed mortgage rates have risen almost a full percentage point since late May, when borrowing costs were near record lows.


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