Home prices have been rising since 2012. Many housing experts are now asking, “Are we done?”

The latest Case-Shiller Home Price Index from the S&P Dow Jones Indices and CoreLogic indicates that home price growth hit its lowest level in December 2018 since November 2016.

CoreLogic’s Deputy Chief economist Ralph McLaughlin, said, “2018 was a turning point for home price growth in the US housing market. In 2018, we saw monthly over-the-year gains in home prices grow at its slowest rate for a calendar year since 2014.”

Could this year be the year for more modest and sustainable price growth?

McLaughlin said, “With inventory now raising from historic lows and price gains continuing to outpace wage growth, we should see some home price appreciation settle towards more reasonable levels throughout 2019 and the remainder of this economic cycle.”

CoreLogic’s National Home Price Index reported a +4.7% annual price gain in December 2018, down from +5.1% in November 2018. Its 10 City Composite showed a +3.8% gain, down from +4.2% in November 2018; its 20 City Composite showed a +4.2% y/y gain, down from +4.6%. The leaders in this index were Las Vegas at +11.4%, Phoenix at +8% and Atlanta at +5.9%.

David Blitzer, the managing director and chairman of the Index Committee with the S&P Dow Jones Indices, said, “The annual rate of price increases continues to fall.”

Issi Romen, chief economist with Trulia, went a bit farther than Blitzer. He said, “The housing market continued to lose steam as it cooled off in December…this happened amid a sharp stock market selloff at the time and heightened concerns brought on with respect to the future path of interest rates, but it also involved the housing market’s slow pivot into cooler territory.”

McLaughlin agreed with Romen. “We expect January’s S&P CoreLogic Case Shiller National Home Price Index to slow to under 5% growth y/y.”

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