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March Case-Shiller Results and April Forecast: Home Buyers Hitting a Breaking Point?

mattspeakman
  • Home prices rose 3.7% year-over-year in March, down from February's annual gain of 3.9%.
  • Case-Shiller's 10-City Composite rose 2.3% year-over-year in March, down from a 2.5% annual gain in February. The 20-City Composite climbed 2.7% from last March, down from 3% growth in February.
  • Las Vegas, Phoenix and Tampa reported the highest year-over-year gains among the 20 cities.

Home buyers have hit a breaking point in what they're willing to pay, even with low mortgage rates and even in places where incomes are high - and home price growth is slowing in response. U.S. home prices rose 3.7% in March from a year earlier, according to the S&P Case-Shiller home price indices, a touch slower than February's 3.9% annual growth.

Pricey West Coast markets are the slowest growers on Case-Shiller's 20-City Composite Index. Home prices in Los Angeles and San Diego rose the slowest, each up 1.3% from last March. They were followed by San Francisco, up 1.4%, and Seattle, up 1.6%.

Meanwhile, Las Vegas Phoenix and Tampa reported the highest year-over-year gains among the 20 cities in March, at 8.2%, 6.1% and 5.3%, respectively. Only four of those 20 cities reported higher annual price increases in March than in February, confirming the widespread slowdown in price gains.

As home price growth cools, sellers are having to make price cuts more often than before, despite continued restraints on inventory. While slower growing prices are a boon to buyers, particularly those entering the market for the first time, prices are still climbing. Affordability remains a concern and may be keeping many would-be buyers from entering the market.

It also limits the meaningful uptick in home sales volumes that low mortgage rates might typically generate.

Looking ahead, Zillow’s April Case-Shiller forecast is for continued modest slowdowns in annual home price growth across all three major indices. Annual U.S. home price growth is expected to fall to 3.6%.

The post March Case-Shiller Results and April Forecast: Home Buyers Hitting a Breaking Point? appeared first on Zillow Research.