The cold wintry real estate season has arrived, and the nation’s markets are responding with markedly slower quarterly growth rates, according to Clear Capital’s recently released Home Data Index™ (HDI) Market Report with data through January 2016.
Dallas, one of the nation’s top performing MSAs of the last 6 months, appears to be one of the hardest hit MSAs this winter. Growth has fallen from an autumn peak of 2.0 percent quarter-over-quarter growth in October 2015 to a meager 0.2 percent in January 2016. While the winter slowdown isn’t necessarily a surprise, a drop in growth of this caliber could indicate trouble in the market as home price appreciation is essentially null.
Other top MSAs are feeling the chill, as well – San Jose has also dropped from its high of 2.5 percent quarterly growth in October 2015 to a low of 1.0 percent this January. While San Francisco and Atlanta have both experienced similar drops in growth so far over the fall and winter period, Las Vegas has actually seen a slight uptick in growth in the last month, with QoQ growth increasing from 0.9 percent to 1.1 percent.
Conversely, Providence, R.I. has exploded in quarterly growth since December 2015, surging from 0.5 percent to 2.8 percent QoQ growth in the last month. The December report also noticed growth in Providence, marking a shift from Providence’s performance as the No. 1 Lowest Performing MSA in October. Additionally, Houston appears to have made an seasonally uncharacteristic jump in QoQ over the last month, increasing by an impressive 0.5 percent from 1.0 percent to 1.5 percent quarterly growth. These two markets appear to be unaffected by the typical Winter slowdown as price growth is on the rise.
Regionally, the West continues to outpace the rest of the nation during the winter real estate season, with QoQ growth holding steady at 1.0 percent with no change in QoQ growth in the last month. The South is currently pacing at 0.6 percent QoQ growth, down only 0.1 percent since last month. The Northeast and Midwest are showing 0.5 percent QoQ growth in the last quarter, each down 0.1 percent and 0.2 percent respectively since December 2015. Nationally, quarterly growth is holding steady at 0.7 percent, with no change from December 2015.
“The typical winter real estate slowdown appears to be in full effect, as growth is down across most of the nation’s markets,” says states Alex Villcacorta, Ph.D., vice president of research and analytics at Clear Capital. “While we would typically expect a market downtrend this time of the year due to an overall lower level of activity in the real estate market, there is added volatility in the market due to the implementation of TRID, the broader economic slowdown, and the string of bad runs in the equity markets. These factors appear to be compounding the traditional wintry effect by adding to the overall uncertainty of the housing market, likely scaring off potential buyers, and driving overall demand downward. What remains to be seen, however, is just how long this icy winter weather will last. If the lack of confidence and affordability in the housing market continues to crowd out some key segments of the housing market, namely first-time homebuyers, it could be a long winter for the nation’s real estate market. But, as the nation’s consumers begin to adjust to the new norm of a higher cost to entry, some individual markets may be able to stave off the cold winter and see spring come early.”
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