Top Stories
Top Stories
Real Estate

Home price gains slowed in June, but low mortgage rates may heat them up again

Key Points
  • Home prices in June rose 3.1% annually, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller national home price index. That's down from 3.3% annual gain in May.
  • The 10-City Composite annual increase came in at 1.8%, down from 2.2% in May. The 20-City Composite rose 2.1% annually, down from 2.4% in the previous month.
  • Another read showed home prices in the second quarter up 5% from the second quarter of 2018.
Potential home buyers walk past an 'Open House' sign displayed in the front yard of a property for sale in Columbus, Ohio.
Ty Wright | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Home prices are still gaining nationally, but not nearly as much as they have been over the past few years.

Prices in June rose 3.1% annually, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller national home price index. That's down from 3.3% annual gain in May.

The 10-City Composite annual increase came in at 1.8%, down from 2.2% in May. The 20-City Composite rose 2.1% annually, down from 2.4% in the previous month.

"Home price gains continue to trend down, but may be leveling off to a sustainable level," S&P Dow Jones Indices' Philip Murphy said in a release. "Fewer cities (12) experienced lower YOY price gains than in May (13).

Phoenix, Las Vegas and Tampa reported the highest annual gains among the 20 cities. In June, Phoenix saw a 5.8% annual price increase, followed by Las Vegas with a 5.5% increase and Tampa with a 4.7% increase. Six of the 20 cities reported greater price increases in the year that ended in June versus the year that ended in May. Seattle was the only city to show prices down (1.3%) from June 2018.

Home prices will likely get a boost from the significant, continuing drop in mortgage rates that began in the spring. The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage is now a full percentage point lower than it was a year ago. Lower mortgage rates give consumers more buying power and tend to push home prices higher.

"The U.S. National Home Price NSA Index YOY price change in June 2019 of 3.1% is exactly half of what it was in June 2018," said Murphy, managing director and global head of Index Governance at S&P Dow Jones Indices. "While housing has clearly cooled off from 2018, home price gains in most cities remain positive in low single digits. Therefore, it is likely that current rates of change will generally be sustained barring an economic downturn."

Another read showed home prices in the second quarter of this year up 5% from a year earlier. The measure, from the Federal Housing Finance Agency, looks at prices on homes with loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which are conforming loans. It therefore does not capture the high end of the market. It shows home price gains decelerating for the fifth straight quarter, but also notes that may be about to change.

"We expect some positive effect of the mortgage interest rate decline on housing demand as well as home price appreciation given that rates have fallen a full percentage point since the end of 2018 to below 4% in August," Lynn Fisher, FHFA's senior advisor for economics, said in the release. "This should lead to a longer summer buying season and potentially a higher rate of appreciation on a seasonally adjusted basis than would have previously been expected in the third quarter."

VIDEO1:4101:41
What the 'Predictably Irrational' author says not to do when the stock market tanks