CLEVELAND, Ohio — House prices continue to outstrip last year’s levels, a much-watched report shows.
Never prone to boom or bust, Cleveland isn’t seeing a dramatic spike.
But an index of prices for single-family homes in the Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor area was 1.8 percent higher in October, when compared with a year before. Across the country, prices posted an annual gain of 4.3 percent, according to the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, released Wednesday.
Phoenix, a Sun Belt city that saw sharp price swings as housing surged and slipped, recorded the biggest rebound. Prices there were 21.7 percent higher in October than a year before. Chicago and New York were the only cities to experience annual drops, of 1.3 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively.
Economists pointed to low interest rates, more jobs and fewer available homes as the factors driving price gains. They expect the trend to continue in 2013.
“Looking over this report, and considering other data on housing starts and sales, it is clear that the housing recovery is gathering strength,” David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said in a written statement.
Monthly price numbers, considered a less reliable indicator of the market’s health, softened a bit.
From September to October, prices in the Cleveland area fell 0.6 percent, based on data that is not adjusted for seasonal patterns. Prices often rise in the spring and drop in the fall and winter. After adjustments for seasonal factors, Cleveland-area prices rose 0.3 percent from one month to the next.
Higher prices boost consumer confidence and wealth. As prices inch up, fewer homeowners will be underwater — owing more than their houses are worth. That, in turn, will make it easier for people to move. And rising prices for existing homes make it easier for builders to compete, as they consider new projects.