Home buyers have watched as home prices marched upwards for the past few years, but now many of you will finally get some relief — at least in some spots. “Home price appreciation has slowed dramatically in most markets, and there are even price corrections in some areas, as home sales have declined significantly over the past few months,” says Rick Sharga, executive vice president of market intelligence at ATTOM. (See the best mortgage rates you may get here.)
Indeed, according to the US Affordability Report published by real estate data company ATTOM, some large counties are seeing double-digit price drops. Counties with a population of at least 1 million where median prices have dropped most from the second quarter to the third quarter of 2022 are:
- Alameda County (Oakland, Calif.), which is down 11%;
- Travis County (Austin, Texas), which is down 9%;
- Santa Clara County (San Jose, Calif., which is down 8%;
- Contra Costa County (outside Oakland), which is down 7%; and
- Fairfax County, Virginia (outside Washington, D.C.), which is down 7%.
Other data also reveals a softening in the housing market. Using data from John Burns Real Estate Consulting, Fortune reports that among the 148 major regional housing markets anayzed, 98 had seen home values fall from their 2022 peaks. “Our view is that you will see—and we’re seeing it right now—home prices will fall even though supply levels are not ripping higher,” Rick Palacios Jr., head of research at John Burns Real Estate Consulting, tells the publication.
Despite some counties seeing price drops, in general, housing remains unaffordable for most. Median-priced single-family homes and condos remained less affordable in the third quarter of 2022 compared to historical averages in 99% of counties across the nation, ATTOM data revealed. “Homeownership remains largely unaffordable for the majority of homebuyers in the majority of markets across the country,” says Rick Sharga, executive vice president of market intelligence at ATTOM.
And, of course, there’s the issue of mortgage rates. Rates hit their highest level since 2007, and MarketWatch Picks asked five economists and real estate pros what would happen next. As Realtor.com chief economist Danielle Hale put it: ” For now, it’s smart for buyers to prepare for the possibility of higher mortgage rates, especially when considering their home shopping budget.” (See the lowest mortgage rates you may get now here.)
The takeaway is that although prices may be declining, home buyers shouldn’t hold their breath for a big break. Sharga says, “While home prices have declined a bit quarter-over-quarter, they’re still higher than they were a year ago and interest rates have essentially doubled. Many prospective homebuyers simply can’t afford the home they hoped to buy and in many cases, no longer qualify for the mortgage they’d need.”
The advice, recommendations or rankings expressed in this article are those of MarketWatch Picks, and have not been reviewed or endorsed by our commercial partners.