Home prices fell for the second consecutive month in December in another sign of a sagging real estate market, according to a closely-watched barometer.
December prices declined 0.1% from November based on Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city index.
Year over year, the index was up 13.6%, but that was less than November's annual gain.
Home prices showed monthly gains in only six cities in the 20-city index — Dallas, Las Vegas, Miami, San Francisco, Tampa and Washington, D.C.
"The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index ended its best year since 2005," says David Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. "However, gains are slowing from month-to-month and the strongest part of the recovery in home values may be over."
The market was affected by cold weather in much of the country, strong gains in prices earlier in the year and interest rates that were higher than in the first half of 2013.
But the report adds more color to a picture of a slowing housing market. The National Association of Realtors reported last week that existing home sales for January fell to the lowest level in 18 months. And home building fell 16% in January from December, the government reported.
Some highlights for cities in the Case-Shiller Index:
• Phoenix showed a 0.3% drop in December, its largest decline since March 2011, ending a 26-month string of gains.
• Chicago prices gained 11.3% from December 2012, its best year over year improvement in since December 1988.
• Dallas set a new peak and posted a 10.2% gain, its largest since 2000.
• Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Francisco saw the strongest price gains of the 20 cities in the Case-Shiller Index last year — all above 20%.