Home prices continue to be higher than they were a year ago, but they are contracting at the fastest pace on record, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Index, as the housing market struggles under sharply higher interest rates.
Prices in August were 13% higher nationally compared with August 2021, according to the index, down from a 15.6% annual gain in July. The 2.6 percentage difference between the two months is the largest gap in the index’s history, first launched in 1987.
This means home prices are coming down at a record pace.
The 10-city composite, which tracks the biggest housing markets in the United States, rose 12.1% year over year in August, versus a 14.9% gain in July. The 20-city composite was up 13.1% for the month of August, compared with a 16% increase the prior month.
“The forceful deceleration in U.S. housing prices that we noted a month ago continued in our report for August 2022,” said Craig Lazzara, managing director at S&P DJI, in a statement. “Price gains decelerated in every one of our 20 cities. These data show clearly that the growth rate of housing prices peaked in the spring of 2022 and has been declining ever since.”
Miami, Tampa and Charlotte were the top three U.S. cities leading the price gains in August, with year-over-year increases of 28.6%, 28% and 21.3%, respectively. All 20 cities reported lower price increases in the year ending in August versus the year ending in July.
The West Coast saw the largest monthly declines, with San Francisco (-4.3%), Seattle (-3.9%) and San Diego (-2.8%) falling the most.
A quick jump in mortgage rates from record lows this year has seriously tamped down the once red-hot housing market. The average 30-year fixed home loan interest rate at the beginning of 2022 was about 3%. By June it was just over 6% and it is now just above 7%.
The cooling house price inflation was underscored by a separate report from the Federal Housing Finance Agency showing home prices increased 11.9% in the 12 months through August after rising 13.9% in July. Prices fell 0.7% on a monthly basis.
The Fed, staging an aggressive battle with the fastest rising inflation in 40 years, has raised its benchmark overnight interest rate from near zero in March to the current range of 3.00% to 3.25%, the swiftest pace of policy tightening in a generation or more.
That rate is likely to end the year in the mid-4% range, based on Fed officials’ own projections and recent comments.
Data last week showed sales of previously owned homes declined for an eighth straight month in September.
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