Home-price growth is cooling, and that’s good news for buyers. In fact, U.S. home prices rose by just 3.7 percent in March on an annualized basis, marking the 12th straight month of slowing price growth, according to the latest S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index.
March’s number is down from 3.9 percent in February and is the slowest pace of growth since September 2012 when real estate was swinging into recovery from the Great Recession.
Average home prices for the top 10 metropolitan areas in the U.S. climbed 2.3 percent in March, down from the 2.5 percent growth recorded in February. On a year-over-year basis, the top 20 metro areas saw a gain of 2.7 percent, down from 3 percent in February, according to the index.
The moderation in price growth has lasted for a year, driven by a notable slowdown in some of the country’s most expensive housing markets, wrote Ralph B. McLaughlin, deputy chief economist and executive of research and insights for CoreLogic, in a blog post.
With mortgage rates continuing to fall, along with slower home-price growth, homebuyers have more of an incentive to get off the sidelines this spring. National mortgage rates for the 30-year fixed loan are averaging 4.27 percent, according to Bankrate’s latest analysis.
“This should help to take the cold edge off what has otherwise been a market slow to thaw from the winter months,” McLaughlin wrote.
Most of the metro areas seeing the biggest declines in price growth are in the West, including Seattle (11.4 percent), San Francisco (9.9 percent) and Los Angeles (6.7 percent). Meanwhile, some markets saw their highest year-over-year annual price increases, including Las Vegas
(8.2 percent), Phoenix (6.1 percent) and Tampa (5.3 percent).
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By Deborah Kearns, Bankrate.com