HOUSTON – (By Dale King, Realty News Report) – The days of low mortgage rates may be coming to an end, and with them, decent increases in home prices and respectable numbers of houses sold, says a study by CoreLogic, a global property information and analytics firm.
But this doesn’t mean the future will be pockmarked with gloom and doom. In fact, researchers at the Irvine, Calif.-based firm say if job levels and salaries remain strong, the cost of buying a house may rise more than anticipated, and mortgage rates may slide back a tad.
“The slowing growth in home prices was inevitable in many respects as buyers pull back in the face of higher borrowing and ownership costs,” said Frank Martell, president and CEO of CoreLogic. “As we head into 2019, we can expect continued strong employment growth and rising incomes which could support a reacceleration in home-price appreciation later this year.”
Dr. Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic, noted mortgage rates today are lower than they were a year ago. “With interest rates at this level, we expect a solid home-buying season this spring,” he said. “The spike in mortgage interest rates last fall chilled buyer activity and led to a slowdown in home sales and price growth.”
As stated by Liza McIntosh, senior strategist, “This slowdown was inevitable, but CoreLogic economists are still predicting a strong home-buying season this spring.”
Looking ahead, the CoreLogic Home Price Index (HPI) foresees the 2019 annual average home price will increase 3.4% above the 2018 national annual average of 4.4%. On a month-over-month basis, prices nationally increased by only 0.1% in January 2019, the report says.
The numbers for the State of Texas and some of its larger metros vary little from the figures reported for the USA. While the nation saw home prices rise an average of 4.4% during 2018, Texas racked up a 4.1% tally. The HPI rose 0.1% nationally last year; -0.1% in Texas.
The sizeable price hikes came in North Texas, says the report. The Fort Worth-Arlington metro division topped the report’s list with prices increasing 5.9% last year. Next came the Dallas-Plano-Irving metro area with a 4.5% jump, then San Antonio-New Braunfels metropolitan statistical area at 4.43%; Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land MSA at 3.99% and the Austin-Round Rock area at 3.75%.
The CoreLogic report came up with a couple of additional bits of information:
The 12-month home-price growth rate was slowest since August 2012.
Since peaking at 6.6% last April, annual home price gains have declined or held steady each month.