California home prices outpaced the nation in July even as sales slowed, said a key real estate index released Tuesday.

San Diego County home prices rose the most in California at 7.1 percent in a year, said the S&P Case-Shiller Indices, which are adjusted for seasonal swings.

Nationwide home prices increased 5.9 percent in the same period, which was led by growth in the Pacific Northwest. Los Angeles and Orange counties increased 6.1 percent and San Francisco by 6.7 percent.

The price increases might show growth but other indicators hint the housing market may be slowing down, along with other major purchases, wrote David Blitzer, managing chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, in the monthly report.

Sales of new and existing homes are down since last March and the second largest consumer purchase in the United States behind homes, automobiles, peaked in November, he wrote.

Economist Felipe Chacon, of housing website Trulia, said the price increases are a reflection of low home inventory across the nation, not just in California where it is a constant discussion.

“This has been the chronic problem that keeps getting worse,” he said of low inventory.

Additionally, Chacon said a strong economy, low unemployment, historically low mortgage rates and people feeling like they are in a good position to buy homes has also led to increasing prices.

Seattle had the biggest yearly increase at 13.5 percent, followed by Portland at 7.6 percent and Las Vegas at 7.4 percent.

The lowest were Chicago and Washington, D.C., both with 3.3 percent increases.

The nationwide 5.9 percent annual increase, up from 5.8 percent in June, beat the expectations of economists for Bloomberg who predicted a 5.7 percent increase.

Blitzer predicted the nationwide housing market would be affected by rebuilding in Texas, Florida and other parts of the nation damaged by major storms. Also, he said the market could be further impacted by the Federal Reserve’s decision to shrink its $4 trillion bond portfolio, which may increase mortgage rates.

The median home price in San Diego County was $535,000 in August, CoreLogic reported last week. The Case-Shiller index goes beyond evaluating home transaction prices to track repeat sales of identical single-family houses as they turn over through the years.

By Phillip Molnar Contact Reporter

If you, or anyone you know, is interested in buying or selling a home, contact your trusted real estate professional, Dan Anderson, REALTOR®, Keller Williams Realty, 858.243.9370 CalBRE # 01946699 

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