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US home price gains slow sharply in April

US home price gains slowed sharply in April, providing fresh evidence of a weakness in the housing market recovery, the S&P Case-Shiller index showed on Tuesday.

WASHINGTON: US home price gains slowed sharply in April, providing fresh evidence of a weakness in the housing market recovery, the S&P Case-Shiller index showed on Tuesday.

The 20-city index of home prices rose at an annual rate of 10.8 percent in April, following the 12.4 percent growth rate posted for March. Month-over-month, the index rose 1.1 percent.

The slowdown was seen in 19 of the 20 cities, with three California cities -- Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco -- posting hefty price drops of about three percentage points, year-on-year.

Boston was the only city where the price gains picked up pace.

The slowdown was stronger than expected. Analysts on average estimated the 20-city index would post an annual pace of 11.6 percent.

David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee, said that although the annual gains weakened, the month-over-month numbers were strong.

Five cities -- Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco and Seattle -- had monthly gains of at least two percent.

"Near-term economic factors favor further gains in housing: mortgage rates are lower than a year ago, the Fed is expected to keep interest rates steady until mid-2015 and the labor market is improving," he said.

"The question is whether housing will bounce back before the Fed begins to tighten some time next year."

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