Home price increases accelerate in L.A. area,

Home prices in Los Angeles and Orange counties climbed 5.1% in November from a year earlier, according to a leading gauge of the housing market.

The 12-month gain, as registered by the widely followed Standard & Poor’s/ Case-Shiller index, was larger than in October, when L.A.-area prices increased 4.9%.

The pickup in L.A. and Orange counties’ prices bucked a trend seen in many big U.S. cities. The index of prices for 20 major metro areas increased 4.3% in November, the smallest gain since October 2012.

Those national numbers reflect a housing market that slowed in 2014 after home prices rose far faster than incomes in recent years. Home sales fell over the year and home price appreciation slowed. It’s unclear if Los Angeles and Orange counties’ faster appreciation in November foreshadows a return to more robust gains.

Falling mortgage rates and an improving economy have raised hopes that the pace of the housing recovery will pick up this year. On Tuesday, the Commerce Department said that newly built homes last month sold at the fastest rate in 6 1/2 years.

In the six-county Southland, sales of new and previously owned homes rose 4.3% in December from a year earlier, according to a recent report from Core-Logic DataQuick. However, the increase in demand didn’t translate into more robust price appreciation, at least according to that measure.

The region’s median price rose 5.1% from December 2013, the smallest gain since April 2012, CoreLogic DataQuick said.

The upcoming spring home-buying season should provide better insight into the market’s prospects for the year.

The Case-Shiller numbers out Tuesday lag behind other indicators such as CoreLogic’s, but they are widely considered the most reliable reading on home values.

The index, created by economists Karl E. Case and Robert J. Shiller, compares the latest sales of detached houses with previous sales and accounts for factors such as remodeling.

Home prices in San Diego increased 4.9% compared to November 2013 and rose 8.9% in San Francisco, according to the index.

By: The Los Angeles Times

Danny Ramirez

949 204 0576

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