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 March, the national median price rose 7.5% from the prior month but was up just 1.2% from the prior year. The 12-month moving average trend of price growth has been slowing over the last couple of years and is currently the slowest in four and a half years, suggesting new home prices may be near a peak.
The path of home price growth during this housing cycle is nearly a mirror image of the path during the last cycle when viewed on a year-over-year percent change, 12-month moving average basis. If supply or mortgage rates move up, prices will likely fall, but big upside movements for either do not appear likely in the near term.