House Prices Fall in Nearly Half of US States

House Prices Fall in Nearly Half of US States
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The apparently unstoppable growth of home prices in the US is finally slowing down as aspiring buyers struggle with affordability, according to the latest data from Moody’s Analytics, with nearly half of all states reporting drops last month.

According to the company’s latest House Price Index, national house prices rose by 0.12 percent in March—the slowest pace of monthly gains in more than a year—although, compared to a year earlier, they were still 5.9 percent higher. In February, house prices had climbed by almost 0.2 percent compared to a year earlier and were 6.1 percent higher than in February 2023.

Behind this data is a conflicting reality that splits the country in places where house prices are still increasing and others where they’ve started to slide. In over 20 states and nearly half of the 403 metropolitan areas tracked by Moody’s, prices actually dropped compared to a year earlier. In about half of the states, prices climbed.

Newly-built row of single family homes. Homes prices are softening in the West and the South, a recent report by Moody’s Analytics found.
Newly-built row of single family homes. Homes prices are softening in the West and the South, a recent report by Moody’s Analytics found.
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The housing markets of states in the Northeast and Midwest had the strongest performances, according to Moody’s, as house prices are relatively more affordable there. Of the 10 largest metropolitan areas in the country, New York (+0.8 percent), Philadelphia (+0.5 percent) and Chicago (+0.6 percent) were the fastest growing in terms of prices, while struggling cities were focused on the South and West , including Dallas (-0.3 percent), Washington, DC (-0.4 percent), Phoenix (-0.4 percent) and Miami (-0.4 percent).

The over 20 states that recorded a price decline in March from February were: Minnesota (-0.01 percent), Tennessee (-0.05 percent), Arkansas (-0.06 percent), Iowa (-0.10 percent), Massachusetts (-0.11 percent), Washington (-0.15 percent), Utah (-0.20 percent), Georgia (-0.22 percent), Virginia (-0.25 percent), Texas (-0.31 percent), North Carolina (-0.46 percent), Arizona (-0.48 percent), Missouri (-0.56 percent), Florida (-0.59 percent), South Carolina (-0.71 percent), Colorado (-0.77 percent), Oregon (-0.79 percent), Kansas (-1.32 percent), Vermont (-1.77 percent), Mississippi (-2.22 percent), Montana (-2.48 percent), and the District of Columbia (-3.39 percent).

Compared to a year earlier, nearly all 50 states plus the District of Columbia reported price increases, with the exception of Mississippi, where prices dropped by 1.02 percent between March 2023 and March 2024.

“We’re seeing home prices softening in the West and South. Both regions have seen a substantial increase in home prices since the pandemic began, driving a wedge between the current price of homes and what economic fundamentals have typically supported,” Matthew Walsh, Moody’s Analytics housing economist, told Newsweek.

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“As mortgage rates rise nationally and affordability plummets, these overvalued states experience greater downward pressure on prices. Additionally, some Southern states are contending with a sharp rise in insurance costs, which is beginning to weigh on homeowners. As a result, active inventories in places like the Gulf Coast of Florida and Louisiana are rising.”

While a drop in prices is good news for potential homebuyers, the truth is that the decline is due to the fact that people are being priced out of the market because of high prices and still high mortgage rates.

“With the rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage averaging close to 7 percent over the month, many potential buyers have been priced out of the market,” Walsh said. “Annual price appreciation ticked lower over the month, rising 5.9 percent, compared to 6.1 percent in February.”

At the national level, condominium prices were up 0.2 percent in March from the previous month, while single-family attached properties excluding condos were down 0.1 percent.

“Should the Fed act as expected and cut interest rates in the coming months, the rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage should decline a bit in the second half of this year,” Walsh said. “Even so, the decline in mortgage rates will be slow, with the 30-year fixed mortgage rate forecast to fall only to around 6.5 percent by the end of 2024.”

Uncommon Knowledge

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

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