- Driven by new residents moving to the area, Miami led the nation in home price increases in February, breaking a seven month negative streak across the country.
- Limited inventory, increased demand, and low interest rates drove the uptick in home prices, particularly in the eastern United States, while many western cities struggled.
- Interest rates remain a major question mark for future home valuations, as the market struggles to anticipate what the national economy will do in the coming months.
Home prices eastern half of the United States soared in February, with Miami seeing the largest monthly increase in the nation. According to mortgage analytics data from Jacksonville, Florida-based Black Knight, Inc., Miami saw home prices rise by 0.63%, suggesting an annualized growth rate between 6.1% and 7.6% if the trend continues. This increase came after seven straight months of declines in the housing market.
The uptick in prices is driven by a combination of affordability, low interest rates, and limited inventory. In total, 78% of the 50 largest U.S. markets saw home prices increase in February, a stark contrast to November 2022, when prices fell in 48 of the 50 largest markets.
Other metropolitan areas with significant monthly increases include Cincinnati, Ohio (+0.55%), Columbus, Ohio (+0.53%), Hartford, Connecticut (+0.52%), Memphis, Tennessee (+0.51%), and Cleveland, Ohio (+0.50%).
In Miami’s case, the increase can be attributed to more people moving to the area, causing rising demand.
“February’s national increase in home prices – up 0.16 percent, adjusted for seasonality – marked the first positive monthly growth we’ve seen in 8 months,” said Andy Walden, Vice President of Enterprise Research at Black Knight. “While some price increases – most notably in Miami, which saw the largest of the month – can be chalked up to people moving to the area, we’re seeing stronger price gains more generally in those areas with better affordability and larger inventory deficits.”
But moving further west, home prices continued to fall in many U.S. cities and some pandemic boomtowns, with the largest declines reported in Austin, Texas (-0.82%), Las Vegas, Nevada (-0.53%), San Jose, California (-0.52%), Salt Lake City, Utah (-0.50%), Sacramento, California (-0.37%), Seattle, Washington (-0.34%), San Francisco, California (-0.32%), Riverside, California (-0.27%), Los Angeles, California (-0.23%), and Phoenix, Arizona (-0.22%). The annualized decline in home prices for these cities range from -2.6% in Phoenix to -9.9% in Austin.
Overall, the housing market continues to face inventory challenges, with seasonally adjusted inventory levels deteriorating for the fifth straight month. More than 90% of markets experienced growing inventory deficits in February, and new listings were 27% below pre-pandemic levels.
“The unfortunate reality is that the scarce supply of inventory that’s the source of so much market gridlock isn’t getting any better,” Walden said. “Without a significant shift in interest rates, home prices or household income, this is a self-fulfilling dynamic that is quite likely to continue for some time.”
Despite falling homeowner equity levels, overall total equity for mortgage holders stands at $14.6 trillion, down 12% from its peak in 2022. Tappable equity, or the amount available for homeowners to borrow while maintaining a 20% equity stake in their property, has decreased by 15% to $9.3 trillion.
Experts suggest that without significant shifts in interest rates, home prices, or household income, the current market dynamic is likely to continue for some time.
The data in this report was pulled from Black Knight Inc.’s Collateral Analytics and Optimum Blue rate lock data. For the full report, click here.