In the first quarter, the national median price was down 2.2% from the prior year, the first decline since the fourth quarter of 2011. Prices were up a sharp 32.6% in the Northeast and a scant 1.2% in the West, but were down 3.7% in the Midwest and 6.0% in the South. The Census Bureau does not report regional median prices by month, only quarterly and annually. In April, the national median price fell 3.0% from the prior month. Compared to a year ago, the median price was down 3.8%, nearly matching the 3.9% drop in February, which was the biggest decline since January 2012. The 12-month moving average trend of price growth has been slowing over the last couple of years and is currently the slowest in nearly five years, suggesting new home prices may be near a cyclical peak.
The trend of home price growth took another step closer to zero in April as it continues to mirror the previous cycle. Falling prices may soon become the new trend, especially if the Fed raises interest rates.