Home Prices Fall For 7th Straight Month
S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Index show prices fell -0.5% in January from a month earlier.
- U.S. National Index posted a -0.5% month-over-month decrease in January.
- After seasonal adjustment, the U.S. National Index posted a month-over-month decrease of -0.2%.
U.S. home prices continued their downward trend in January, falling for the seventh straight month, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index.
Before seasonal adjustment, the U.S. National Index posted a -0.5% month-over-month decrease in January, while the 10-City and 20-City Composites posted decreases of -0.5% and -0.6%, respectively.
After seasonal adjustment, the U.S. National Index posted a month-over-month decrease of -0.2%, while both the 10-City and 20-City Composites posted decreases of -0.4%.
In January, before seasonal adjustment, 19 cities reported declines, with only Miami reporting an increase at 0.1%. After seasonal adjustment, 15 cities reported declines, while Miami; Boston; Charlotte, S.C.; and Cleveland had slight increases.
Year-over-year home prices increased, but at a slower rate in January from December, the report said.
The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index, covering all nine U.S. census divisions, reported a 3.8% annual gain in January, down from 5.6% in the previous month.
The 10-City Composite annual increase increased 2.5%, down from 4.4% in December. The 20-City Composite posted a 2.5% year-over-year gain, down from 4.6% in the previous month.
Miami, Tampa, and Atlanta again reported the highest year-over-year gains among the 20 cities in January. Miami led with a 13.8% year-over-year price increase, followed by Tampa with a 10.5% increase, and Atlanta with a 8.4% increase. All 20 cities reported lower prices in the year ending January 2023 versus the year ending December 2022.
“2023 began as 2022 had ended, with U.S. home prices falling for the seventh consecutive month,” said Craig J. Lazzara, managing director at S&P DJI. “The National Composite declined by 0.5% in January and now stands 5.1% below its peak in June 2022. On a trailing 12-month basis, the National Composite is only 3.8% ahead of its level in January 2022, a result also reflected in our 10- and 20-City Composites (both +2.5% year-over-year).”
Lazzara continued, “January’s market weakness was broadly based. Before seasonal adjustment, 19 cities registered a decline; the seasonally adjusted picture is a bit brighter, with only 15 cities declining. With or without seasonal adjustment, most cities’ January declines were less severe than their December counterparts.”
He did note that one of the most interesting aspects of January’s report is the continued weakness in home prices on the West Coast.
“San Diego and Portland joined San Francisco and Seattle in negative year-over-year territory,” Lazzara said. “It’s therefore unsurprising that the Southeast (+10.2%) continues as the country’s strongest region, while the West (-1.5%) continues as the weakest.”
He added that mortgage financing and the prospect of economic weakness are “likely to remain a headwind for housing prices for at least the next several months,” following financial turmoil in the commercial banking industry and the Federal Reserve remaining focused on its inflation-reduction targets.
Hannah Jones, an economic data analyst for Realtor.com, said the S&P CoreLogic Case Shiller report highlights the struggles of homebuyers facing high prices, elevated mortgage rates and stubborn inflation.
“The index tracks price figures for the months of November, December, and January,” she said. “The last month of 2022 and first month of 2023 saw mortgage rates dip below November’s highs, providing a small boost in activity. Existing home sales continued to fall during this time, but by a smaller margin each month, as some buyers responded to lower mortgage rates by getting back into the market.”
“However,” she continued, “less demand meant many would-be sellers chose not to enter the market, and many who chose to list had to settle for lower prices.”
Mortgage rates remained below their recent peak during February and March, clearing the way for a sizable rebound in existing-home sales in February, which rose 14.5%..
“Prices have continued to soften as sellers in the market adjust to the price-level necessary to stoke buyer demand,” Jones said. “As we move into the spring buying season, mortgage rates have ticked lower, a welcomed sign of progress towards affordability.”
With stricter lending requirements as a result of the banking crisis combined with the Fed’s latest 0.25% rate hike, it may be both harder and more expensive to borrow money, both of which move the economy in the direction of slower growth and toward the 2% inflation target, Jones said.
“This combination of events impacts the housing market by keeping mortgage rates higher than last year, and by making it harder for buyers to secure a loan,” she said. “More expensive, less available borrowing — especially with an unclear economic outlook — is likely to continue to limit buyer demand. Though home sales are expected to rebound in line with seasonal trends, this spring’s sales pace is expected to remain lower than last year, as uncertainty and high costs limit activity. Many sellers will feel the pressure to list their home for a lower price to ensure sufficient buyer attention and a quick sale.”