Home prices continued to tap on the brakes in February, moderating their earlier breakneck speeds, particularly in pricey West Coast markets. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index, which tracks home prices nationally and in major metro areas, rose 4% in February from the previous year, a slowdown from 4.2% in January.
Less expensive metros are zooming past their pricey coastal counterparts in year-over-year price gains, creating a mix of market behaviors that indicates the housing market overall is normalizing rather than heading for a crash. Las Vegas, Phoenix and Tampa, Fla., reported the highest year-over-year gains in the 20-city composite index, which climbed 3% year-over-year, down from 3.5% in January. Las Vegas rose 9.7% year-over-year, followed by Phoenix at 6.7% and Tampa at 5.4%.
The slowdown reflects the wider range of inventory that buyers had available this winter, which gave them more breathing room around prices than they have had in a while. Buyers might be lured by falling mortgage rates heading into spring, although rates have been low for so long that they no longer spur the kind of intense demand that drives up prices.
Below is Zillow’s Case-Shiller forecast for March. It’s scheduled for release on May 28.
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