List Prices Are Creeping Downward After Years of Inflation

After years of steady increases, the median list price for a home in the United States has finally dropped — if only a little, according to Realtor.com’s June Housing Report. The 0.9 percent decrease is the first downward movement reported since the company began publishing its trends research in 2017.

Is the tiny change a pivotal moment in the housing market after years of frenetic inflation? Perhaps, but the conditions that have stymied buyers and raised concerns over the lack of affordability are still very much with us.

Homes remain expensive, and high mortgage interest rates have made them even less affordable than equally priced homes a year ago. Although the report showed that the number of active listings rose by 7 percent over a year, there are still half as many homes on the market as in prepandemic 2019. There are also 26 percent fewer new listings this June than there were last June (a slight improvement over June 2022, which had 29 percent fewer than June 2021).

The dearth of listings is easily explained: There’s little incentive to sell. After all, sellers face the same high prices and interest rates when they go looking for their next home, and buyers are harder to come by at these rates.

In some areas, though, home prices have dropped more significantly than the tiny national decrease reported. According to Realtor.com, prices in Austin, Texas, fell by about 7 percent over a year, and by nearly 5 percent in Houston. In total, the report showed 14 metros with decreased median list prices among the nation’s 50 largest metro areas. This week’s chart, based on Realtor.com data, shows the 20 metros where prices fell the most, remained level or increased the least.

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