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Home prices will continue to slow

Home prices have been cooling off in several major cities, according to the latest S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller price indices that was released this week. CoreLogic’s Deputy Chief Economist Ralph McLaughlin discussed some of the trends that were emerging at the end of last year.

It seems that home prices have been cooling off. Why is that?

ralphmA combination of factors is helping cool home prices. First, we’re in a mature economic cycle, which naturally means home price growth slows. Second, a series of recent headwinds have combined to keep the housing market in check. These include interest rates peaking in November, a volatile stock market, a contentious election, and a government shutdown.

Why have prices been slowing down in some of these West markets, in particular. Like Seattle and San Francisco?

We think an affordability crunch combined with tax plan changes that disincentivize expensive home purchases have helped cool these markets.

Is there any difference between the changes in price in low and high-end properties? I’ve heard that prices are really only falling at the upper end of the price scale.

We don’t have any evidence that high-end property prices are falling in value, rather they are just growing at a slower rate than lower-end property prices.

Do you expect this slowing trend to continue?

We should continue to see price growth cooling into at least mid-year, but we don’t expect growth to turn negative anytime soon.

What is going on in Las Vegas that prices are rising by 12 percent annually?

While home prices in Las Vegas are indeed growing by 12 percent, we are seeing signs of cooling compared to a few months ago when prices were growing by nearly 14 percent on a year-over-year basis. Still, Las Vegas is experience strong job, population, and household growth, which puts upward demand on prices. Last, Las Vegas took a long time to recover from their massive foreclosure crisis, so their recovery has lagged other markets that better weathered the Great Recession.


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