TAMPA - It may be harder this year for people regain some of that home equity lost in the great housing crash of the mid-2000s.
That's because home prices likely won't grow at nearly the clip they did in 2013, Yale University economist Robert Shiller said Tuesday. Speaking to reporters Tuesday morning, Shiller said he expects modest home price appreciation in 2014, perhaps around 5 percent. However, he gave himself some wiggle room and said he wouldn't be surprised if housing prices actually fell this year.
Overall, 2013 was a good year for Tampa-area homeowners, according to the latest S&P/Case-Shiller home price index, which attempts to track home prices over time. It's considered more reliable than monthly Realtor reports, which can be skewed if a surprising number of high-priced or low-priced homes sell in a given month.
From November to December home prices in the Tampa area rose a slight 0.3 percent, which is actually better than most other cities in the S&P/Case-Shiller's index of 20 cities around the country. Home prices in 14 of the 20 cities in the index were flat or lost ground. In the one-year period from December 2012 to this past December, Tampa-area housing prices rose 15.8 percent. That beats the 20-city index average of 13.4 percent.
Speaking nationally, Shiller said the housing market faces some obstacles that should cool it a bit in 2014. First, mortgage rates are up nearly 1 percentage point over the past year, even though they're still historically low. Also, more people are looking to rent these days, and much of people's exuberance for housing has worn off from the mid-2000s boom, he said.