Home prices increases may be leveling out, according to one closely-followed real estate report.
In 20 major American cities, home prices this May were about 4.9% higher than May of last year, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, released Tuesday. That’s the same pace of growth as April, and surprised economists when it fell short of expected growth.
Economists predicted a 5.6% year-over-year increase, according to an Econoday survey.
Price increases of single-family homes have settled at a steady pace of 4-5% this year, said David Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. He said he expects price increases to slow over the next two years, as wages rise to catch up with housing costs.
“First time homebuyers are the weak spot in the market,” said Blitzer, citing research that high down-payments may be putting off first-time home purchases. “Without a boost in first timers, there is less housing market activity, fewer existing homes being put on the market, and more worry about inventory.”
Overall, 10 of the 20 cities surveyed saw housing price increases slow on a seasonally-adjusted basis. Some real estate markets remain hot, however.
Home prices in Denver are 10% higher than this time last year, and San Francisco and Dallas are also seeing prices increase at almost twice the national pace. New York City and Phoenix have seen prices rise for six consecutive months.
Between April and May, the index slowed 0.2% on a monthly, seasonally adjusted basis. An analyst at Barclays said they were not inclined to “read too much” into the decline.
“This could be a pause for breath in the data after a strong performance for half a year,” wrote Blerina Uruçi in a research note.