Housing growth slowed down in December with more counties across the country reporting a decline in home sales and property values, according to figures from DataQuick.
After months of increasing home prices for all 42 markets analyzed in DataQuick’s Property Intelligence Report, values leveled off in many areas last month. Additionally, four counties experienced property depreciation, including Cuyahoga, Ohio with a .28% drop, Queens and Suffolk, N.Y. fell by 0.46% and 1.12% respectively, and Fairfield, Conn., saw a .41% decline.
The largest month-over-month gain in home values was 2.08% in San Bernardino County, Calif.
The substantial drop in home prices is an “encouraging” sign, says Gordon Crawford, vice president of analytics at DataQuick.
“It shows that home prices are starting to respond to fundamentals rather than proceed along a speculative bubble-like track,” he added. “However, even with this slowing pace, home prices remain above the rate that can be sustained by currently weak economic drivers, as average annualized home price growth across all 42 reported markets remained abnormally high at 9.9%.”
Meanwhile, the trend of low sales numbers continued in December as all but 11 of the 42 counties assessed in the PIR had a decline in the number of properties that were purchased from November.
Here are some notable markets that saw the largest decreases in sales: 39.2% in Montgomery, Md.; 39.16% in Middlesex, Mass.; 26.58% in Salt Lake, Utah; 21.85% in King, Wash.; 24.68% in Jackson, Mo.; 20.9% in Broward, Fla.; 21.7% in Hillsborough, Fla.; 25.6% in Dupage, Ill.; and 23.3% in Multnomah, Ore.
Also, the PIR showed that foreclosure activity continues to decrease too as foreclosures decreased in 26 of the 42 reported counties on a monthly basis.
Overall, the slowing growth of both home prices and sales isn’t all bad, Crawford mentions. He points out that declining numbers may mean a more “stable housing market is on the horizon.”