Row of colorful homes in Issaquah, Washington.

The numbers: The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city index rose a seasonally adjusted 0.2% in December compared to November and was 4.2% higher compared to a year ago. That was the slowest pace of annual growth since November 2014.

What happened: Home price growth is screeching to a halt, and yet prices are still increasing much faster than wages. Price growth as measured by the broader national Case-Shiller index for the three months ending in December was 4.7%. The gain in the popular 20-city index missed the Econoday forecast of a 4.8% increase.

Read: Thanks, Amazon: Northern Virginia home sales rocket 90% in November

Big picture: For most of the current business cycle, the West has been the best. But in December, Atlanta cracked the top three for the first time, while Seattle and San Francisco, former high-flyers, saw tepid price growth on an annual basis and outright declines for the month.

In fact, only five metros of the 20 saw price increases during the month.

Metro area Monthly change 12-Month change
Atlanta 0.1% 5.9%
Boston -0.5% 5.3%
Charlotte 0.0% 5.2%
Chicago -0.7% 3.0%
Cleveland -0.4% 4.6%
Dallas 0.0% 3.9%
Denver -0.1% 5.5%
Detroit -0.4% 5.3%
Las Vegas 0.2% 11.4%
Los Angeles 0.0% 3.7%
Miami 0.1% 5.2%
Minneapolis -0.5% 5.5%
New York 0.2% 3.3%
Phoenix 0.1% 8.0%
Portland -0.3% 3.9%
San Diego -0.7% 2.3%
San Francisco -1.4% 3.6%
Seattle -0.6% 5.1%
Tampa -0.1% 5.3%
Washington -0.2% 2.7%

The question for the housing market now is whether this easing in prices helps stabilize conditions, allowing entry-level buyers to break in.

What they’re saying: “The annual rate of price increases continues to fall,” said David Blitzer, who runs the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, and who just months ago was reassuring investors that there was no current housing bubble.

Market reaction: The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note

TMUBMUSD10Y, -0.91%

 , which most mortgages track, has been significantly lower in 2019, thanks to concerns about slowing global growth and trade tensions. That’s helped boost consumer interest in applying for mortgages, but whether there will be any properties that they want to buy once they’re approved is another story.

See also: It’s not getting any easier to buy a house, and more Americans may just give up

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