Unexpectedly strong home sales at the start of this year reversed a sharp, several-month decline in home prices. Mortgage rates are behind the swing.
Home prices nationally rose 0.16% in February, when seasonally adjusted, according to Black Knight. That is the strongest one-month gain since May of last year. Home prices are now 2.6% below their peak last June.
Of the 50 largest U.S. markets, 39 saw home prices rise in February. That’s a quick turnaround from November, when prices were falling in 48 of 50 markets.
As with all real estate, however, the price dynamics differ depending on location. Miami continues to see the largest price gains, along with more affordable markets in the Midwest, like Cincinnati, Columbus, Ohio, and Cleveland, according to Black Knight. Meanwhile, prices are still falling in some of the markets which saw the greatest price inflation over the last several years. Those include Austin, Texas, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Seattle, and San Francisco.
While mortgage rates were the driving factor for the price turnaround nationally, tight supply is adding to the upward pressure, especially with new spring demand from buyers.