Home prices peak again in April, but appreciation decelerates

A month after reaching an all-time high, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index did it again in April, according to a release on Tuesday.

Despite the index reaching another record high, the report found that home price appreciation is decelerating.

The national index posted a 6.3% annual gain in April, down from the 8.3% jump in March, bringing it to a record-high reading of 320.42. On a month-over-month basis, the index recorded a 1.2% increase before seasonal adjustment.

“For the second consecutive month, we’ve seen our National Index jump at least 1% over its previous all-time high,” Brian D. Luke, the head of commodities, real and digital assets at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said in a statement. “2024 is closely tracking the strong start observed last year, where March and April posted the largest rise seen prior to a slowdown in the summer and fall. Heading into summer, the market is at an all-time high, once again testing its resilience against the historically more active time of the year.”

The 20-city composite index also posted a smaller annualized increase in April, rising 7.2% versus 7.5% in March, to a reading of 329.78. The index also posted a 1.36% monthly increase before seasonal adjustment.

The 10-city index recorded an 8% yearly increase and a 1.38% monthly increase to a reading of 346.89.

San Diego, New York and Chicago were the top cities for largest annualized price gains at 10.3%, 9.4% and 8.7%, respectively.

“Thirteen markets are currently at all-time highs and San Diego reigns supreme once again, topping annual returns for the last six months,” Luke said. “The Northeast is the best performing market for the previous nine months, with New York rising 9.4% annually.

“Last month’s all-time high came with all 20 markets accelerating price gains. This month, just over half of our markets are seeing prices accelerate on a monthly basis. At 6.3% annual gains, the index has decelerated from the start of the year, with only two markets rising on an annual basis.”

Industry experts attribute the slower home price appreciation to buyers being more cautious.

“The rapid and sudden increase in mortgage rates in April pushed housing affordability further out of reach for many potential buyers while some who could still afford held back,” Orphe Divounguy, a senior economist at Zillow, said in a statement.

”As a result, the share of listings with a price cut shot up to 22.4% in April, the highest rate for April in the past six years, and a significant step up from 17.2% a year earlier. Despite the relative slowdown in April, homes that were priced correctly still sold in just 13 days, only 3 days slower than in April 2023.”

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