An earlier version of this piece was published on Forbes.com.
Inflation-adjusted house prices fell in four West Coast metros and Chicago from April 2018 to April 2019. Real house prices in Seattle were down almost 2%, after applying the inflation measure CPI-U to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Index.
We see strong downward trends in the amount of price appreciation since last summer after years of very strong price gains. Los Angeles and San Francisco prices seemed to have bottomed out for at least a while as they entered the spring high season. It’s surprising that Seattle kept slowing so fast in April and suggests continued weakness.
Although (nominal) house prices increased in all 20 metros covered by Case-Shiller, the size of increases were getting smaller in all 20 metros and the United States as a whole. Nationally, house prices increased 6.5% from April 2017 to April 2018 but only 3.5% from April 2018 to April 2019.
May is peak house-selling season in many cities so prices should bounce back a bit or least the slowdown in price increases should slow down. But what happens after the high season? By the end of the summer will Seattle house prices come in lower than a year earlier? What happens to sales and prices if West Coast home buyers start to expect prices to be more or less flat?
See all my Case-Shiller interactive graphs here.
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