Home prices increase as falling mortgage rates attract buyers

by Liz Hughes

Home prices nationwide showed the biggest increase in a month while declining mortgage rates are bringing more buyers to the market, according to a new Redfin report

The median home sale price in the four weeks ended Jan. 15 rose 0.9% from 2022 to $350,250. The jump comes as more potential buyers are conducting home searches and mortgage applications are rising. 

More buyers have entered the market in the past four weeks as mortgage rates fell, dropping to 6.15% during the week ended Jan. 19, marking the lowest level since September. 

Redfin deputy chief economist Taylor Marr said those who started looking at homes online and scheduling tours at the end of last year are now turning into actual homebuyers. 

“Low competition, falling mortgage rates and seller concessions are bringing some buyers back to the market,” Marr said. “That’s helping keep national home prices afloat, which is one bright spot for sellers. But many buyers are still sitting on the sidelines and demand could dip back down if inflation declines slower than expected or mortgage rates rise again.”

Year over year, though, home prices fell in 18 of the country’s 50 most populous metros, during the four weeks ended Jan. 15, the report found.

Prices were down year-over-year 10.1% in San Francisco, 6.7% in San Jose, 5.5% in Austin, 4.3% in Detroit, 3.8% in Seattle, 3.7% in Phoenix, 3.4% in Sacramento, 3.1% in San Diego, 2.8% in Anaheim, California, 2.5% in Chicago, 2.4% in Los Angeles, 2.3% in Oakland, California and 2.2% in Boston. 

In Riverside, California, Portland, Oregon, New York, Newark, New Jersey, and Las Vegas, home prices fell less than 2%.

Thirty-year mortgage rates dropped to 6.15% for the week ending Jan. 19. The daily average, according to the report, was 6.04% on Jan. 18. Meanwhile, mortgage applications rose 25% on Jan. 13 from a week prior and purchase applications were down 26% from 2022. 

With the lower rate, the average monthly mortgage payment on a median-priced home was $2,262, unchanged from the week prior but down $245 from October’s peak. Year over year, though, monthly mortgage payments are up 30%. 

In the four weeks ended Jan. 15, active listings rose 21.8% from last year, marking the biggest annual increase since 2015. Meanwhile, new listings fell 20% from last year, the biggest drop on record.

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