In the News: Winter hits housing recovery

By Chris Isidore

Cold weather hurt home prices in January, as a closely watched measure of housing values posted its third straight monthly decline.

“The housing recovery may have taken a breather due to the cold weather,” said David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices.

But home prices are still bouncing back from the bust. On a year-over-year basis, prices gained 13.2% nationally. The high point of the current recovery, the 13.7% increase in November, was generally seen an unsustainable by housing experts.

Home values over the last year have been helped by a drop in foreclosures, a decline in the unemployment rate and a relatively tight supply of homes available for sale. But beyond the cold weather, prices have faced a headwind of higher mortgage rates than a year ago, when rates were approaching a record low.

Later Tuesday the Census Bureau will report on new home sales in February. Economists surveyed by Briefing.com forecast a 5% drop in the pace of new home sales for the month, even when adjusted for seasonal factors.

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