As 2018 ended, the pace of U.S. home prices began to slow, according to data from the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index.
This monthly index, which measures average home prices in major cities across the U.S., showed that in November of last year, home prices across the U.S. were 5.2% more expensive, down from October’s 5.3% price growth.
According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, a number of economists expect the pace of home prices to slow even further in 2019 given the downward trend last year.
Home-price growth began at a pace of about 6% at the beginning of 2018, dropping to near 5% by year’s end. But economists are anticipating that 2019 price increases will better reflect standard inflation growth, about 2% to 3%.
So why does this matter? If home prices rise at a slower pace, this could be good news for would-be homebuyers, who may have struggled in recent months with rising mortgage rates and mostly stagnant wages.
What’s more, slower price growth may provide a boost to the sluggish housing market. As the Journal reports, home-sales data from the National Association of Realtors showed that in December 2018, sales fell 6.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.99 million homes — their lowest level since 2015.