U.S. Housing Prices Fell for Seventh Straight Month in January

Sharpest declines are in tech hubs in the West, while the Southeast gains

Blurred motion view of cars driving in Austin cityscape, Texas, United States
Jeremy Woodhouse / Getty Images

Key Takeaways

  • Home price growth slows in January from December, marking seventh straight month of declines.
  • Tech hubs like Seattle and Oakland are seeing the biggest declines, while Southeast cities continue to lead the nation in housing price gains.
  • Rising mortgage rates will increase pressure on the housing market.

U.S. home prices fell 0.5% in January from December, their seventh straight monthly decline, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index, as higher mortgage rates discouraged homebuyers.

Home prices are still higher than a year earlier, with the Case-Shiller national index up 3.8% in January from the same month last year, though the difference narrowed from 5.6% in December.

The national market is sharply divided, with the biggest slowdowns coming in Western states with strong technology job markets and in places that drew the most pandemic migration, while strong growth continues in the Sunbelt, particularly Florida and the Southeast.

Florida’s real estate market is still hot. As it has been for six straight months, Miami was the top-performing city in the Case-Shiller, with home prices up 13.5% over last year, followed by Tampa’s 10.5%. Sunbelt neighbors Atlanta (8.4%) and Charlotte (8.1%) followed, part of the Southeast region that led the nation with 10.2% housing price growth.

Higher mortgage rates fueled by the Federal Reserve's year-long program of interest rate hikes are the primary cause of the housing market slowdown, according to data from before the March banking crisis.

Tech Hubs Lead Cool Off

Among the weakest markets in the country is Austin, Texas, according to a Redfin report covering February data. The report looks at year-over-year changes in home prices, price drops, supply, pending sales, sale-to-list price ratio, and the share of homes that sell within two weeks.

The tech centers of Seattle, San Jose, and Oakland saw the biggest dropoffs in homebuying demand and competition, according to Redfin. Homes in San Jose sold for just 0.6% above asking price this February, down from the 12% above asking price sellers were getting last year. 

Redfin’s list of the 10 cities with the slowest housing price growth is composed entirely of cities in the West: Phoenix; Tacoma, Washington; Denver; Las Vegas; Stockton, California; and Sacramento, California. Case-Shiller also had a negative outlook for the West Coast, with San Diego and Portland joining San Francisco and Seattle with declining housing prices. 

“Some reported that layoffs and precarious tech stocks are deterring buyers. Others attribute the slowdown mainly to other factors, including super-low inventory,” according to Redfin agent reports from these markets. 

High mortgage rates are the primary drag on the housing market, according to Case-Shiller.

“The Federal Reserve remains focused on its inflation-reduction targets, which suggest that rates may remain elevated in the near-term. Mortgage financing and the prospect of economic weakness are therefore likely to remain a headwind for housing prices for at least the next several months,” Craig J. Lazzara, managing director at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said in a release. 

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  1. S&P Global. “S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Index Declining Trend Continued in January.”

  2. Redfin. “Housing Markets in West Coast Hubs and Zoom Towns Cooling Fastest.”

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