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Home Price Growth Slows for Second Month in a Row. Here's What Home Buyers Should Know

Rising mortgage rates and high sale prices are slowly causing the market to cool off.

A diagonal view of multiple-colored row houses.
Grace Cary/Getty

Home price growth slowed again in May, a sign that the US housing market may be starting to cool off. 

This marks the second straight month that home price growth has slowed in response to economic pressures like rising interest rates and inflation. Price growth was 19.7% in May, down slightly from April's 20.6% increase, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index, a leading measure of US home prices

"Housing data for May 2022 continued strong, as price gains decelerated slightly from very high levels," said Craig Lazarra, managing director at S&P DJI, in a release. "Despite this deceleration, growth rates are still extremely robust."

A related composite, which measures real estate values in the top 20 cities in the US, rose 20.5%, down from 21.2% in April, with all cities experiencing double-digit price increases. Four of the 20 cities saw bigger price increases year over year in May 2022 than in April.

Tampa, Miami and Dallas saw the highest year-over-year gains among the 20 cities in May. Tampa saw price growth of 36.1%, with Miami seeing a 34% increase and Dallas experiencing a 30.8% growth rate year over year. Overall, price growth remains the strongest in the South and Southeast, with both regions seeing gains of 30.7% year over year. Still, as the Federal Reserve continues to raise interest rates, the slight deceleration in national growth shows that the housing market may finally be starting to slowly cool off

"Mortgage financing has become more expensive as the Federal Reserve ratchets up interest rates," said Lazarra. "Accordingly, a more-challenging macroeconomic environment may not support extraordinary home price growth for much longer."

With home price increases slowing, is now a good time to buy a house?

It's important to understand what's going on the housing market before deciding if now is the right time to buy a home.

Mortgage rates have been rapidly climbing since the beginning of 2022, and currently sit at 5.70% for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. While still low, that's a sharp increase from the average 3% rates we started the year with. Mortgage rates have gone up indirectly as a result of the Federal Reserve raising the federal funds rates several times this year to counteract record-breaking high inflation. Another rate hike is expected Wednesday.

As rates climb, it becomes more expensive to buy a home. This drives down home competition and may price some buyers out of the market. As buying demand decreases, home price increases typically slow or decline.

While home prices are still high, if you're shopping for a home, you may have access to more home inventory and face less competition. With the Fed expected to raise rates again this year, you could also lock in a lower interest rate now, potentially saving you tens of thousands in interest over the lifetime of your home loan.

Ultimately, buying a home is a personal decision and will depend on a variety of factors. Check out our Should You Buy a Home in 2022 guide to learn more.