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February price gains lowest since 2012


More evidence of decelerating price growth came to light on Thursday as Redfin reported that February’s home-price gains were the smallest annually in seven years.

Home-sale prices crept up just 0.6 percent in February, to a median of $287,400 across the metros tracked by the Seattle-based brokerage. It’s the smallest recorded bump since prices stopped dropping year-over-year in March 2012.

“When home prices are going up quickly, buyers feel like they are forced to move fast and purchase a home before prices rise even more. Now that home prices are growing slower than inflation (prices for consumer goods were up 1.5% annually in February), there really isn’t much downside to taking your time,” said Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather.

“And now that mortgage rates are no longer going up every week, buyers in many markets have the luxury of knowing that whether they buy now or later, they will pay about the same for a home.”

While slight, price growth does still remains positive. Just 10 of the 85 largest metros tracked by Redfin saw prices fall. Bridgeport, Connecticut, felt the biggest drop at 15.2 percent, with highly sought-after California areas like San Jose (11.3 percent), San Francisco (7.9 percent) and Orange County (2.4 percent) likewise topping the list.

Redfin’s report also noted that completed home sales increased nationally for the first time in seven months (and only the third time in a year). Home sales growth has been on a rollercoaster above and below zero for the last couple of years, although the overall trend has pointed downward since 2016. According to Redfin, the sharp spike in February may signal a reversal of the trajectory.

 


 

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