Home prices continued rising at a restrained pace nationwide, both monthly and annually, but regional breakouts indicate some trouble spots, according to May’s Federal Housing Finance Agency House Price Index report.
For the second consecutive month, values rose by a seasonally adjusted 0.7% compared to the month before, while on a year-over-year basis, they were up by 2.8%.
“U.S. house prices increased moderately in May, continuing the trend of the last few months,” said Nataliya Polkovnichenko, supervisory economist in FHFA’s Division of Research and Statistics, in a press release. “However, house prices in some regions of the country remained below the levels seen one year ago.”
In the Pacific region, prices declined 1.7% from a year ago, although when compared with April, they were 1.7% higher. That was the largest month-to-month growth among the nine regions.
Meanwhile, the Mountain states reported a 2.7% value drop compared with May 2022, although they rose 0.3% over April.
The only region where prices fell in May from April was the New England states, down 0.5%.
The FHFA uses seasonally adjusted purchase data from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Prices rose 1.9% annually for the second quarter, Fannie Mae reported on July 17.
Meanwhile, the CoreLogic S&P Case-Shiller Index for May was down 0.5% compared with May 2022, the second month where nationwide prices were down versus the prior year. But month-to-month, the index was 1.2% higher unadjusted for seasonality; adjusted the gain was 0.7%.
The 20-city composite index was down 1.7% annually in May but up by 1.5% compared with April.
“While the annual decline reflects price drops that occurred in 2022, recent above-average price gains indicate an inflection ahead,” said Selma Hepp, CoreLogic’s chief economist.
“While home sales activity still continues to tell a tale of two markets: one of the West, which is constrained by a lack of existing inventory, and the other of the Southeast and South, where the availability of new homes for sale is creating sales opportunities; home prices are not necessarily following the trend anymore,” she said.
CoreLogic’s own Home Price Index rose 1.4% annually and 0.9% month-to-month in May. It is predicting 4.5% growth in prices through May 2024.
On an unadjusted basis, prices rose in all 20 markets, but there are regional differences, said Craig Lazzara, managing director at S&P Dow Jones Indices.
This month’s league table shows the Revenge of the Rust Belt, as Chicago (+4.6%), Cleveland (+3.9%), and New York (+3.5%) were the top performers,” Lazzara said in a press release. “If this seems like an unusual occurrence to you, it seems that way to me too. It’s been five years to the month since a cold-weather city held the top spot (and that was Seattle, which isn’t all that cold).”
The worst performers were Seattle, down 11.3% and San Francisco, down 11%.
The rise in mortgage rates in early July, with Freddie Mac’s survey coming within 4 basis points of 7% for the 30-year fixed, is likely to plateau any gains in home prices going forward, the CoreLogic S&P Case-Shiller release said. But that will be countered by the inventory shortage.
“Heating of competition among buyers is also reflected in an increasing share of home selling over the asking price again, 39%, compared to an average of 25% pre-pandemic,” Hepp said. “As a result, the median price premium (ratio of sale price to list price) is back to positive, at 1%, after declining since last September.”