If you’re considering moving, one of your biggest questions right now is probably: what’s happening with home prices? Despite what you may be hearing in the news, nationally, home prices aren’t falling. It’s just that price growth is beginning to normalize. Here’s the context you need to understand that trend.
In the housing market, predictable ebbs and flows happen each year. It’s called seasonality. Spring is the peak homebuying season when the market is most active. That activity is typically vigorous in the summer but begins to wane as the “cooler” months approach. Home prices follow along with seasonality because prices appreciate most when something is in high demand.
That’s why there’s a reliable long-term home price trend. The graph below uses data from Case-Shiller to show typical monthly home price movement from 1973 through 2022 (not adjusted so that you can see the seasonality):
As the data shows, home prices grow at the beginning of the year but not as much as in the spring and summer markets. The market is less active in January and February since fewer people move in the cooler months. As the market transitions into the peak homebuying season in the spring, activity ramps up, and home prices increase significantly more. Then, as fall and winter approach, activity eases again. Price growth slows but still typically appreciates.
“High mortgage rates have slowed additional price surges, with monthly increases returning to regular seasonal averages. In other words, home prices are still growing but are in line with historic seasonal expectations.”
Why This Is So Important to Understand
In the coming months, the media will talk more about home prices. In their coverage, you’ll likely see industry terms like these:
- Appreciation: when prices increase.
- Deceleration of appreciation: when prices continue to appreciate at a slower or more moderate pace.
- Depreciation: when prices decrease.
Don’t let the terminology confuse you or let any misleading headlines cause any unnecessary fear. The rapid pace of home price growth the market saw in recent years was unsustainable. It had to slow down at some point, and that’s what we’re starting to see – deceleration of appreciation, not depreciation.
Remember, it’s normal to see home price growth slow down as the year progresses. And that doesn’t mean home prices are falling. They’re just rising at a more moderate pace.
While the headlines generate fear and confusion about what’s happening with home prices, the truth is simple. Home price appreciation is returning to normal seasonality. If you have questions about what’s happening with prices in our local area, let’s connect.
Other educational articles about the market and your home search are under Karen’s Blog. Additionally, explore the search bar for other topics of interest.