Home Prices Trend Downward as Moderation Sets into Market

The fall’s cooler temps are being matched by a cooling off in the housing market’s red-hot trends, according to ZipRealty’s latest Housing Trends Report. For the month ended Sept. 15, median homes sales prices in the 24 metropolitan areas surveyed were up 14% year-over-year, compared to 16.2% a month prior to that. Median sales prices were higher than a year ago in all cities studied, but the annual price increases shrank in 19 out of 24 markets. The median sales price of about $272,000 in mid-September was also approximately 2% lower than in mid-August 2013.

“Further moderation in trends was evident in sold-to-list price ratios, new listings volume, pending sales volume and days on market data for mid-September. The median number of days on market inched up from 28 in mid-August to 30 in mid-September, though houses are still selling faster this year than last year in every city except Phoenix,” says ZipRealty CEO and President Lanny Baker.

“The inventory of homes for sale remains about 14% lower than a year ago across the totality of markets in ZipRealty’s study; however, inventory has crossed over into positive year-over-year comparisons in Sacramento, Las Vegas, Phoenix and San Diego. Previously, Tucson had been the only city where inventory was increasing from previous year’s levels. With higher inventory and a still-steady flow of new listings coming onto the market, it is natural to anticipate that year-to-year price comparisons may continue to slow down in coming months,” he notes.

“With mortgage interest rates up from their first-quarter lows and new economic uncertainty added to the picture by the government shutdown, the usual autumn slowdown in home sales activity seems likely to grab a few extra headlines this year, and judging from early September it looks like ‘chillier’ numbers may lie ahead,” concludes Mr. Baker.