According to a Redfin report, home Prices in February recorded the smallest year-over-year gain since March 2012 at 0.6 percent and a median of $287,400. The prices fell more than 8percent in San Francisco and San Jose. Newark, Milwaukee, and Buffalo saw prices rise more than 10 percent, the report found.
"When home prices are going up quickly, buyers feel like they are forced to move fast and purchase a home before prices rise even more. Now that home prices are growing slower than inflation (prices for consumer goods were up 1.5 percent annually in February), there really isn't much downside to taking your time," said Daryl Fairweather, Chief Economist at Redfin. "And now that mortgage rates are no longer going up every week, buyers in many markets have the luxury of knowing that whether they buy now or later they will pay about the same for a home."
The report noted that home prices fell in 10 of the 85 largest metro areas tracked by Redfin, with the largest year-over-year declines in Bridgeport, Connecticut (-15.2percent), San Jose, California (-11.3percent) and San Francisco (-7.9 percent). Newark (12.2 percent), Milwaukee (11.8 percent) and Buffalo, NY (11.7 percent) were the metros with the biggest increases in home prices from last year.
Completed home sales recorded an increase nationally for the first time in seven months and only the third time in the past 12 months in February, up 1.9 percent from the prior year. Redfin data indicated that the overall trend in home sales has been falling since late 2016. February may be the start of a reversal in this trend as home sales fell in 41 of the 85 largest metro areas that Redfin tracks.
The report stated that the number of homes for sale at the end of the month was up 2.9 percent from a year earlier in February. The number of homes newly listed for sale fell from February 2018 (-4.8 percent).
Home-selling speeds, previously at 35 days on market last May, slowed year-over-year again in February. The typical home that sold in February went under contract in a median of 59 days, two days longer than a year earlier.
"Because homes are sitting on the market longer and the market is less competitive than last year, first-time homebuyers now have a better chance of winning a home," said Fairweather. "That could mean more potential buyers in the spring. Home sales are already rebounding this month, and that trend may continue now that the market is more balanced," Fairweather said.
Read the full report here.