US home prices rise at slower pace for 9th straight month

WASHINGTON (AP) — US home price gains slowed for the ninth straight month in December, reflecting weaker sales and higher mortgage rates.

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index increased 4.2 percent from a year earlier, down from 4.6 percent in November, according to a report released Tuesday.

Home sales and price increases cooled considerably last year and have been a drag on the economy. Previous price gains have put many homes out of reach for would-be buyers, and a jump in mortgage rates last fall also held back sales, which plunged 8.5 percent last year.

Prices rose the fastest in Las Vegas, Phoenix and Atlanta. Seattle and Portland, which spent months as the hottest real estate markets nationwide, ranked 11th and 16th in price gains in December.

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