Home prices fell year-on-year in February for the first time in more than a decade severe cold in the market Sellers forced to lower their listings.
The median sale price for previously owned U.S. homes sank to $363,000 in February, according to data from the National Association of Realtors published Tuesday.
This was a decrease of 0.2% from the same month a year ago, when the median price was $363,000.
The downtick broke a streak of 131 consecutive months in which prices had increased year-over-year — the longest such run on record.
The US housing market has suffered as the Federal Reserve’s interest rate hikes bring greater volatility to long-term mortgage rates.
Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said in the note, “The pace of the fall in prices is being limited by a lack of existing homes coming to market … but the relatively small number of homes listed is also taking longer to sell.” “
The most significant declines occurred in the West, where average prices fell 5.6% last month to $541,000, and in the Northeast, where average prices fell 4.5% to $366,100.
The NAR findings match recent data published by real estate firm Redfin, which also said earlier this month that it had First year-on-year decline in house prices Since February 2012.
While prices fell for the month, existing home sales volume jumped 14.5% in February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.58 million — the first increase in 12 months. Sales were still down 22.6% compared to the same month a year earlier.
The spike in sales volume coincides with a Decline in long term mortgage rates Last month, that fell from above 6% in February after hitting a top of 7% in the previous fall.
“Aware of changes in mortgage rates, homebuyers are taking advantage of any rate drops,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist at NAR. “In addition, we are seeing strong sales gains in areas where home prices are coming down and local economies are adding jobs.”
Mortgage rates have risen again this month – raising the prospect that increased housing activity will be short-lived.
“The apparent decline in sales in March, perhaps, is likely to result in a new cycle low,” Shepherdson said.
Whether or not the Federal Reserve announces an interest rate hike on Wednesday, the housing market will get its next clue on the likely path of mortgage rates. Investors are currently betting on a quarter percentage point gain despite recent turmoil in the US banking sector.
As The Post reported, some experts have suggested that mortgage rates could begin to decline if the Fed slows or halts its slate of hikes.