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Home-price gains reach slowest pace since 2015

Home-price growth has decelerated to its lowest level since April 2015, according to the latest S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index.

Home prices nationwide grew by 4.3 percent year over year in January — the 10th consecutive month of slowing price growth.

That growth is even slower in the country’s largest markets, with average home prices for the top 10 metro areas up only 3.2 percent on an annual basis, down from 3.7 percent in December. The top 20 metropolitan areas saw a year-over-year increase of 3.6 percent, down from 4.1 percent in December.

Nineteen of the top 20 metros reported lower price increases in January, compared to 16 in December. And in 16 of the top 20 metros, price gains were lower year over year in January.

Western cities continue to lead home-price growth, with Las Vegas (10.5 percent growth) and Phoenix (7.5 percent) seeing the largest annual gains. Phoenix, additionally, was the only city among the top 20 metros to see greater year-over-year price growth in January than in December.

The West, however, also is seeing the biggest slowdowns in home-price growth.

“Some cities where prices surged in 2017-2018 now face much smaller increases,” said David M. Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “In Seattle, annual price gains dropped from 12.8 percent to 4.1 percent from January 2018 to January 2019. San Francisco saw annual price increases shrink from 10.2 percent to 1.8 percent over the same time period.”

Ralph McLaughlin, deputy chief economist at CoreLogic, projects that the spring homebuying season will be “one of balance,” with price gains slowing even further.

“With mortgage rates pulling back from highs not seen since 2011, and inventory continuing on a slow and steady rise, we expect buyers to enter the peak buying season a little more confidently than at the end of 2018,” McLaughlin said. “Homes are now sitting on the market longer, and price cuts are becoming more common, which means sellers need to be more diligent in pricing than in previous years. As a result, we expect February’s S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index to slow to about 4 percent growth year over year.”


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