Don’t look now, but home price declines could be moderating


… Or, so says a recent April Wall Street Journal blog by Nick Timiraos.

Home price reductions down from last year

Zillow Report: Home values fell by 1.1% in February down from a 1.3% decline in January, and the share of homes listed for sale that had a price reduction declined from 32% last year to 25% this year.

Not exactly a bottom yet

As Timiraos says: To be sure, no one is suggesting that prices have stabilized.  A 1.1% decline is not good news… just two of 132 markets saw an increase in values in February. If price declines are moderating, it’s likely because the share of distressed sales is falling and not because of a firming up of demand. Still, the speed with which prices are declining is worth keeping an eye on…

March home listing prices up

In March, listing prices went up.

No doubt, a good chunk of the increase is probably tied to some sellers who are wildly unrealistic about what their homes are worth. But to the extent that it shows price declines have slowed in some markets, it certainly bears watching over the coming months.

Some of the biggest gains in listing prices have come in markets like Chicago and Miami that have burned off their excess inventories over the past year.

We probably won’t have a defined ‘bottom’

And for those waiting for bells and whistles to go off when the much-anticipated ‘bottom’ hits, Timiraos says:

It’s also probable that the housing market won’t hit a single “bottom” point. Instead, it may look more like a jagged line, moving up during seasonally stronger sales periods and then turning down when traffic cools off.






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