That’s why, before the abnormal years we just experienced, there was a reliable long-term home price trend. The graph below uses data from Case-Shiller to show typical monthly home price movement from 1973 through 2021 (not adjusted, so you can see the seasonality):
As the data from the last 48 years shows, at the beginning of the year, home prices grow, but not as much as they do entering the spring and summer markets. That’s because the market is less active in January and February since fewer people move in the cooler months. As the market transitions into the peak homebuying season in the spring, activity ramps up, and home prices go up a lot more in response. Then, as fall and winter approach, activity eases again. Price growth slows, but still typically appreciates.
Why This Is So Important to Understand
In the coming months, as the housing market moves further into a more predictable seasonal rhythm, you’re going to see even more headlines that either get what’s happening with home prices wrong or, at the very least, are misleading. Those headlines might use a number of price terms, like:
- Appreciation: when prices increase.
- Deceleration of appreciation: when prices continue to appreciate, but at a slower or more moderate pace.
- Depreciation: when prices decrease.
They’re going to mistake the slowing home price growth (deceleration of appreciation) that’s typical of market seasonality in the fall and winter and think prices are falling (depreciation). Don’t let those headlines confuse you or spark fear. Instead, remember it’s normal to see a deceleration of appreciation, slowing home price growth, as the months go by.
If you have questions about what’s happening with home prices in our local area, let’s connect.