U.S. home prices rose in April from a year earlier at the slowest pace in 13 months, reflecting a recent decline in sales, according to a closely watched index released Tuesday.
The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city home-price index rose 10.8 percent in April from 12 months earlier. While a healthy gain, it was down from 12.4 percent in March and was the smallest year-over-year gain since March 2013.
Home prices rose 0.2 percent in April from the previous month, a much smaller gain than the 0.8 percent expected by analysts.
"Near-term economic factors favor further gains in housing," said S&P index chairman David Blitzer. "However, housing is not back to normal: prices are being supported by cash sales, low inventories, and declining foreclosure … sales. First-time homebuyers are not back in [large numbers], and qualifying for a mortgage [loan] remains challenging."
Home sales have slowed since last summer as higher mortgage rates, rising home prices, and a limited supply of available properties have priced many potential buyers out of the market. Sales of existing homes in May were 5 percent lower than a year earlier.