When it comes to home prices, there are fewer extremes in local markets these days.
In a new report, online real estate firm Trulia looked at the asking prices of homes listed on its site and found that May marked the first month since July 2012 in which no local market had year-over-year price increases of more than 20 percent.
A year ago, seven of the 100 largest metropolitan markets tracked by the firm had gains that large.
In a separate analysis, the research firm CoreLogic reported that home prices rose 10.5 percent in April from a year earlier, the 26th consecutive month of year-over-year price gains. But that was the smallest increase since February 2013.
The two measures, both released this week, suggest that the price gains of the past two years are slowing down -- but not to the point where most pockets of the country are experiencing actual price declines.
In its report, Trulia acknowledged that asking prices are not perfect predictors of how much homes will sell for. But it also said that list prices are solid indicators of which way prices are trending, and tend to lead sales price changes by about two months. The firm regularly compiles asking price data for properties listed on its site and adjusts for the mix of homes and seasonal patterns.
The most startling slowdowns in May took place out West in markets where prices crashed during the housing bust then accelerated after hordes of investors swarmed in, buying massive amounts of deeply-discounted homes and clearing out the excess supply of properties.
Although asking prices In the Las Vegas, Sacramento and Oakland regions shot up 30 percent year-over-year in May 2013, they rose only 15 percent year-over-year in May 2014, the Trulia analysis said. The slowdown was particularly striking in Phoenix, where prices rose only 8 percent in May 2014, versus 25 percent last month.
Here’s a look at what happened in other markets:
But the pullback in asking prices did not lead to widespread price drops. The number of housing markets where prices fell year-over-year is at a post-recession low. Decreases were registered in only four areas: El Paso, Hartford, Albany and Little Rock.
“That means the national price slowdown has NOT pushed more markets into price declines,” wrote Jed Kolko, chief economist at Trulia. “Rather, the price slowdown has meant a deceleration in the booming markets where prices had been rising unsustainably fast.”
In its analysis, CoreLogic said that no state posted price declines in April from a year earlier, and only five of the 100 major metropolitan regions that the firm tracks posted year-over-year price declines, and some of those overlapped with the areas singled out in Trulia’s statistics for May. The five areas are:
Hartford West Hartford-East Hartford, Conn.
Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, Wis.
Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, Ark.
New Haven-Milford, Conn.