Home-price growth sees largest monthly decline in 16 years during May

May saw the largest monthly slowdown in home-price growth in 16 years, according to data from Black Knight — but the headline decrease is only part of the story in a market with still scorching asking prices.

May saw the second consecutive month of price easing nationally, particularly in some of the country’s least affordable regions. Prices, however, remain wildly elevated, noted Ben Graboske, data & analytics president at Black Knight.

“The annual home price growth rate fell by more than a full percentage point in May, the largest monthly decline at the national level since 2006,” said Graboske. “However, even with growth slowing in 97 of the top 100 U.S. markets, overall home prices still rose 1.5% from April – nearly twice the historical average for the month of May.

“And while any talk of home values and 2006 might set off alarm bells for some, the truth is that price gains would need to see deceleration at this rate for more than 12 months just to get us back to a ‘normal’ 3-5% annual growth rate.”

Still, Graboske conceded that, considering current market conditions, the pace of deceleration could very well heighten in the short term.

The continued dearth of inventory that has helped boost price growth across the country has started to improve, although just slightly. Even with May’s increase of 107,000 additional active listings — nearly double the historical gain seen in the month — the market is still 60% below the typical number of listings at this time of year.

But some of the priciest areas in the nation, like Seattle and the San Francisco Bay Area, are seeing their local shortages improve faster than other markets, with the impact on home prices measurable; Seattle, San Francisco and San Jose have all seen year-over-year home-price growth rates slide more than three percentage points in recent months. Other hot markets, such as Austin, Boise and Phoenix, are also already seeing prices cool.


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