Moderation in the housing market is now in its 11th straight month, according to the latest home data index from Clear Capital.
National home price gains fell to 6.7% year-over-year and 1.0% quarter-over-quarter.
Meanwhile Distressed Saturation fell to just 16.8% suggesting the shortage of lower priced inventory is the catalyst for stalling gains. National trends were echoed at the regional level, with the West seeing the strongest moderation across the country. In fact, for the first time since the start of the recovery three years ago, the West’s yearly rates of growth fell below 10%, a sure sign of more moderation to come over the next several months for the nation.
“Performing-only sale trends are a bellwether for what’s to come in 2015 ” said Dr. Alex Villacorta, vice president of research and analytics at Clear Capital. “Think of home price growth since the housing collapse as a bouncing ball, where each successive bounce causes some energy to be lost and eventually movement stalls. We see this on a few different levels. First, we see the delta between performing-only and all sales, including distressed sales, merging. This confirms markets are no longer driven as much by investor demand for discounted distressed assets.”
They also warn that improvements in the broader economic landscape have not instilled confidence in traditional homebuyers (first-time, move-up, second home owners). The general lack of demand in the performing-only segment, coupled with a dwindling supply of distressed inventory, leaves the future of home prices squarely in the hands of traditional homebuyers, who have yet to show any signs of re-engaging.
Reduced reliance on distressed sales and diminishing gains in the performing-only sale segment could be too much for the recovery to overcome as we enter winter. The recovery is at a tipping point. Markets need non investor demand to ramp up, and homebuyer confidence restored. Should this turn into a negative feedback loop, the likelihood for quarterly price declines at the national level could turn into yearly price declines by the end of 2015.