Slower traffic means sellers may start to see sales taking longer and perhaps price reductions, according to a new study. For buyers, less traffic indicates less competition for the homes that are on the market. (Daniel Acker/Bloomberg News)

Years of rising prices and a limited number of homes for sale is taking its toll on the real estate market across the United States, particularly in the West and Northeast regions, according to the Showing Time Showing Index. The Showing Index tracks the average number of appointments received on active house listings every month and combines that data with its MarketStats division to track buyer demand.

Slower traffic means sellers may start to see sales taking longer and perhaps price reductions. For buyers, less traffic indicates less competition for the homes that are on the market.

Home showings increased by a tepid 0.3 percent in July 2018 compared to July 2017 across the country, the third consecutive month of slowing buyer interest even during the normally busy late spring/early summer housing market. Showings in June 2018 matched the number of showings in June 2017, while May 2018 had a 1.2 percent increase in showings compared to May 2017.

As always, regional differences can be dramatic. In the West, which includes the previously heated California and Washington state markets, showing activity has declined for six consecutive months and was down 6.5 percent in July 2018 compared to July 2017.

In the Northeast region, showings declined by two percent this July compared to July 2017. The Midwest had a slight 0.6 percent increase in showings year-over-year in July.

The outlier is the South, where buyer traffic increased 4.6 percent in July 2018 compared to the previous July. The South has seen year-over-year increases in traffic for 10 consecutive months.

For the full report, visit http://www.showingtime.com/showingtime-showing-index.