Rising Mortgage Rates Are Slowing Home Price Appreciation

Home price appreciation increased 1.0% in the third quarter compared with the second quarter and was up 4.8% compared with the third quarter of 2017, according to ATTOM Data Solutions’ quarterly home sales report.

However, annual home price appreciation slowed in 49% of local markets, including Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston and Miami.

Home price appreciation was strongest in San Jose, Boise and Las Vegas.

As of the end of the third quarter, the average price of a single-family home or condo was about $256,000.

“The continued slowdown in the rate of home price appreciation nationwide and in many local markets is a rational response to worsening home affordability – which has deteriorated at an accelerated pace this year due to rising mortgage rates,” says Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at ATTOM Data Solutions, in a statement. “Markets not experiencing this price appreciation cool-down may have more of an affordability cushion to work with, but some are in danger of overheating if home price gains continue to run hot.”

Tendayi Kapfidze, chief economist at mortgage marketplace LendingTree, says he thinks rising mortgage interest rates are to blame for the slow-down in home price appreciation.

“I think the key factor underpinning the decelerating price appreciation is the impact of rising rates on the monthly payment,” Kapfidze says. “Absent financing structures that allow a borrower to increase leverage while mitigating an increase in the monthly debt service, buying power is decreasing across the board.

“This especially affects the marginal buyer who doesn’t have a lot of wiggle room,” Kapfidze adds. “And if you remember your econ 101, the marginal buyer transacts at the market clearing price. So while there is still strong demand, some potential buyers are falling out of the market and others are moving down in price with the aggregate effect being a moderation in price appreciation.”

“Housing affordability is becoming an increasingly big issue, especially in the western U.S. where many markets have not seen adequate new construction – putting substantial upward pricing pressure on resale homes,” says Matthew Gardner, chief economist with Seattle-based Windermere Real Estate.

Gardner notes that the rate of home price appreciation in the Seattle metro area slowed to the slowest pace since the fourth quarter of 2014.

“Seattle is one of these areas, and home price growth is likely to continue to slow there until incomes are able to catch up – even given significant demand from robust employment growth,” he says. “On the other hand, markets such as Boise, Idaho, are building at a brisk pace, and that is allowing ongoing resale price appreciation as new supply keeps the market relatively affordable.”

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