After seven consecutive months of falling prices, the S&P/Case-Shiller US National Home Price Index rose in February, and March seems to have the same upward momentum.
The latest data from black knight finds that of the nation’s 100 largest markets, 93 had price increases from February to March, up from 79 from January to February.
This, of course, is traditionally expected, as the spring months tend to bring a rise in prices as demand for home buying increases. But the increase is more than expected. “A modest increase in homebuyer demand translated precipitously into a drop in the supply for sale,” said Andy Walden, Black Knight’s vice president of business research. “Just five months ago, prices were declining seasonally adjusted month-over-month in 92% of all major US markets. Fast forward to March, and things have done a literal 180, with prices now rising in 92% of the markets since February”.
It should be noted that most key year-over-year metrics they indicate a correction environment and show more similarity to the 2019 market than any of the pandemic years. As of March, only 28.5% of homes sold above list price, down -26% year-over-year. Price declines have increased to 14.3% (+7.7%), new listings are down -22.5%, and median days on market have increased to 44 (+23). In short, demand is lower and there are more homes on the market, but new listings aren’t coming online at the same rate as before either, which helps explain why domestic prices are only down -3.3% yoy in place of more
Personally, I am bearish about this market. I think when you have homeowners with low fixed interest rates that restrict supply, high mortgage rates application maintenance down, a real fear of a coming (or ongoing, depending on who you ask) recession, record affordability, persistent inflation, bank scares, and the fact that commercial and multi-family real estate is at serious risk of crashing; It’s hard to be totally optimistic about the market.
However, some markets have ignored these dilemmas, while others have taken a real hit. Real estate is local, and we have to deal with what’s in front of us.
What markets are rising?
Despite the troubles in the economy, only seven of the 100 largest markets in the United States experienced month-over-month price declines. Leading the way was Austin, Texas, which saw a -0.72% drop, according to Black Knight.
Among the markets that experienced a rebound, Columbus, Ohio had the largest increase (+1.08%). Below are the top 10 markets:
|Real-estate market||MoM Percent Change|
Here are the 10 lowest markets:
|Real-estate market||MoM Percent Change|
|Salt Lake City, Utah||-0.12%|
|San Antonio, Texas||-0.70%|
The biggest takeaway is that the superstar markets of the pandemic boom, largely Boise and Austin, are hit hardest. Austin continues its decline from its May 2022 median sales price peak of $670,000 to $535,000, a decrease of -16%.
Meanwhile, Miami just set a record of $560,000.
According to Redfin data, Miami has become the top city in the country for inbound immigration, which helps explain why it’s still appreciating. But, like Austin during the pandemic, this rapid migration may ultimately lead to a similar decline later in the future once the dust settles — just food for thought for anyone investing in Miami County- given.
What about the correction?
As I mentioned, prices tend to go up during this time of year. The most important question going forward is whether the domestic market has finished falling. When winter comes, prices will certainly fall, but by how much? Have we really reached the “bottom” of the market?
Who knows. Two specific factors have fueled the housing market correction. The first is affordability. Home prices in markets across the country hit all-time highs, putting many potential buyers out of the market. This naturally leads to lower demand as more and more buyers leave the market, putting downward pressure on prices. The second is the policy of raising interest rates by the Federal Reserve, which has produced 10 rate increases since March 2022 and has pushed the Federal Funds Rate above 5%, a 16-year high.
Has been Well established that the Fed’s battle against inflation would hurt real estate, and that was the point. Prices got too high (for everything, not just housing), and the Fed felt it needed to act, albeit too late.
Now that the correction is in full swing, affordability, which has very slightly improved this year, it’s a positive trend that may start to work against you.
The Federal Reserve, on the other hand, is still hard to predict. For now, it is reasonable to assume that they will continue to raise interest rates until they can bring inflation down to a sustainable level.
What is that level, you ask? Well, 2% has been the standard for a long time, but these days rumor is 3-4%. The Fed hasn’t said anything publicly about changing its long-standing target, but depending on how things pan out for the rest of this year, things could be changing, leaving even more uncertainty on the table.
In general, it is still too early to make any definitive forecasts about where things are going. Zillow continues to maintain that prices will rise 0.6% this year. CoreLogic is even more bullish, predicting a 4.6% rise. Fannie Mae, on the other hand, is price decline forecast until 2024.
As investors, it’s important to stay on top of this information and take everything you read and hear with a grain of salt. Do your own research, make your own decisions, and protect your money.
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BiggerPockets Note: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the views of BiggerPockets.