Home price growth in the U.S. has slowed for the third straight month.
Standard & Poor’s said Tuesday that its S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller national home price index posted a 19.1% annual gain in October, down from 19.7% from September. The 20-City Composite posted a 18.4% annual gain, down from 19.1% a month earlier. The 20-City results came in very close to analysts’ expectations of a 18.5% annual gain, according to Bloomberg consensus estimates.
“In October 2021, U.S. home prices moved substantially higher, but at a decelerating rate,” said Craig J. Lazzara, managing director and global head of index investment strategy at S&P DJI. “All 20 cities saw price increases in the year ended October 2021. October’s increase ranked in the top quintile of historical experience for 19 cities, and in the top decile for 17 of them. As was the case last month, however, in 14 of 20 cities, prices decelerated — i.e., increased by less in October than they had done in September.”
Despite the slowdown in the pace of growth, the October reading was the fourth-highest reading in the national index’s 34 years of data, according to Lazzara. The top three were the three months immediately preceding October. Historically low inventory, low interest rates and pent-up demand from the COVID-19 pandemic have been pushing home prices upward.
“Since the start of the pandemic, house prices in the U.S. have been inflated by historically low interest rates, supply restrictions which included a foreclosure moratorium, and increased savings for a down payment due to limited options for discretionary spending,” said Zillow Senior Economist Kwame Donaldson, in a statement. “House price growth is now slowing because many of these supports have expired or are dwindling. But other supports remain – the U.S. labor market touts low unemployment and robust wage growth, a tsunami of millennials are reaching the peak age for first time homebuyers, and the for-sale inventory unexpectedly tightened in October and November.”
Once again Phoenix led the 20-City Composite by posting a 32.3% annual gain. Tampa and Miami followed by posting a 28.1% and 25.7% annual increase, respectively.
“Home prices continue to appreciate at double-digit rates — two-to three-times faster than a year ago — across all metropolitan areas reported by the CoreLogic S&P Case Shiller Index,” said CoreLogic Deputy Chief Economist Selma Hepp, in a statement prior to the results. “Unfortunately, the rate of home price growth will be limiting for many young buyers who have yet to accumulate sufficient equity gains, and an expected increase in mortgage rates next year will present further challenges. Together, these two factors will keep a lid on continued home price acceleration.”
Last week, the National Association of Realtors said the median existing-home price for all housing types in November was $353,900, up 13.9% from November 2020 ($310,800), as prices increased across the U.S., furthering indicating that prices are still heading north.
Soaring prices have been bad news for first-time homebuyers in particular. In November, the share of first-time homebuyers fell to 26%, down from 32% a year ago, according to the NAR.
But according to a new survey by Realtor.com, first-time homebuyers are optimistic as inventory is expected to pick up entering the new year. Seventy-two percent of first-time homebuyers expect to make a purchase in 2022.
“In the face of competitive market dynamics, our recent survey shows that first-time home buyers are adjusting with 9 in 10 planning to employ some kind of tactic to navigate the competition, compared to just 8 in 10 in our previous survey last spring,” said Realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale in a statement prior to the results.
Amanda Fung is an editor at Yahoo Finance.