Oct. home prices, Nov. mortgage rates see winter chill

December 30, 2014

WASHINGTON (12/31/14)--Home price appreciation cooled in October, with both the S&P/Case-Shiller 10-city and 20-city indices reporting slimmer annual price gains for the month compared with September's numbers.

The 10-city composite index climbed 4.4% in October year-over-year after a 4.7% annual gain in September, and the 20-city index rose 4.5% annually for the month after a 4.8% annual jump in September ( Dec. 30).

Broken down, 12 of the 20 cities tracked by the S&P's 20-city index showed decelerating home-price increases, while eight cities saw faster annual price growth in October.

All 20 metro area house price indices experienced year-over-year gains.

"A small part of the reason for the slowdown is that single-family construction is slowly starting to emerge; single-family completions have increased by 50% since their trough in early 2012," said Andres Carbacho-Burgos, Moody's analyst (

"However, these completions are still at a low absolute level compared with prerecession construction, and have lagged household formation at least through 2013. Most of the slowdown in house price growth is due to demand-side factors," Carbacho-Burgos added.

Mortgage rates, meanwhile, continue to slide.

In November, the national average contract mortgage rate for the purchase of previously occupied homes fell to 4%, a drop of 11 basis points from 4.11% in October, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA).

The average interest rate on all mortgage loans dropped to 4.01% for the month, a 10 basis-point drop from October's average.

And the average interest rate on conventional, 30-year fixed-rate mortgages of $417,000 or less fell to 4.24%. That represents an eight basis-point drop from 4.32% in October.

The average loan amount in November for all loans came in at $293,600, up from $285,000 in October, according to the FHFA.