U.S. Home Prices Declined Further in September

Rising mortgage rates and low inventories weigh on the U.S. housing market

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U.S. home prices fell in September, marking a third straight month of declines, as sellers tried to attract buyers squeezed by higher borrowing costs.

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index fell 0.8% in September, following a 1.1% decline in August. On an annual basis, prices rose 10.6% from a year earlier, decelerating from a 13% annual gain in August and a peak growth rate of 20.8% in March. The 10-city and 20-city composite indices, which track home prices throughout the nation's largest metropolitan areas, rose 9.7% and 10.4% from a year ago, respectively.

All 20 cities tracked by the index recorded slower annual price gains compared with August. In Miami and Tampa, prices rose about 24%, while those in Charlotte increased 17.8%. The smallest annual price gains were recorded in San Francisco and Seattle, where prices rose 2.3% and 6.3% from a year earlier, respectively.

Craig Lazzara, Managing Director at S&P Dow Jones Indices, explained that the September report reflected the recent trend of short-term declines and medium-term deceleration of housing prices. 

The U.S. housing market has slowed markedly in recent months, as rising mortgage rates and limited inventories weigh on buyers and sellers of homes. Mortgage rates have soared in 2022 after falling to record lows during the previous two years, as the Federal Reserve tightens monetary policy in order to tame high inflation. The average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage guaranteed by Freddie Mac hit a recent peak of 7.08% earlier this month—its highest level in over 20 years. At the beginning of the year, the 30-year mortgage rate stood at just over 3%.

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