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US home price growth moderates for fourth straight month

·Editor
·3-min read

Home price growth in the U.S. continued to slow in the penultimate month of 2021.

Standard & Poor’s said Tuesday that its S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller national home price index posted a 18.8% annual gain in November, down from 19% from October. The 20-City Composite posted a 18.3% annual gain, down from 18.5% a month earlier. The 20-City results came in a smidge higher than analysts’ expectations of an 18% annual gain, according to Bloomberg consensus estimates.

“For the past several months, home prices have been rising at a very high, but decelerating, rate. That trend continued in November 2021,” said Craig J. Lazzara, managing director and global head of index investment strategy at S&P DJI, in a statement. “Despite this deceleration, it’s important to remember that November’s 18.8% gain was the sixth-highest reading in the 34 years covered by our data (the top five were the months immediately preceding November).”

Yet again, Phoenix led the 20-City Composite — it has sat at the top of the index for 30 straight months since 2019, when Yahoo Finance named the Valley of the Sun the hottest housing market of the year. Phoenix posted a 32.2% annual increase and was followed by Tampa and Miami, recording a 29% and 26.6% year-over-year gain, respectively.

“We continue to see very strong growth at the city level,” said Lazzara. “All 20 cities saw price increases in the year ended November 2021, and prices in 19 cities are at their all-time highs. November’s price increase ranked in the top quintile of historical experience for 19 cities, and in the top decile for 16 of them.”

The increase was expected since the index is a lagging indicator and more recent data shows record home price appreciation for the entire year of 2021. Last week, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported median existing-home price for all housing types in December was $358,000, up 15.8% from December 2020 ($309,2000). The NAR further noted that home price growth in 2021 — hitting $346,900 — rose at its fastest price appreciation since 1999.

“Today’s S&P Case-Shiller Index highlights a still-busy housing market in late fall 2021, with buyers seeking to leverage low mortgage rates — which stayed around around 3.1% in November — in their home purchase,” said George Ratiu, manager of economic research at Realtor.com, in a statement prior to the results. “Home prices continued rising, but the pace of appreciation moderated as rising inflation and approaching winter holidays siphoned purchasing power from many home shoppers’ budgets.”

Economists are already noting that factors pushing home prices north are starting to subside in 2022.

“As mortgage rates rise, we do expect some moderation in housing demand, causing house price growth to temper,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, in a statement.

The latest read on the most common home loan for buyers, the 30-year fixed rate mortgage, will be out Thursday, but last week rates rose to 3.56% from 3.45% — the highest rate since March 2020 — according to Freddie Mac. Last year, the 30-year averaged 3% and it is expected to be 3.6% in 2022, according Freddie Mac.

“Despite edging mortgage rates and some seasonal moderation in the housing markets, the rate of home price appreciation continues to track well above sustainable levels,” said CoreLogic Deputy Chief Economist Selma Hepp in a statement prior to the results. “And given the economy’s strong wage growth, low supply and continued competition among millennials approaching home-buying age, demand pressures will continue to support home price acceleration, with home price indexes likely to continue hovering close to 20% in the coming months.”

Amanda Fung is an editor at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @amandafung

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