US Home-Price Gains Slowed Last Quarter, as Inventory Expanded

CALIFORNIA (Los Angeles Times/MCT) -

The national housing slowdown deepened in the second quarter as home prices posted their smallest gain in two years, according to a new report.

The median price for a single-family home rose 4.4 percent from a year earlier to $212,400, the National Association of Realtors said Tuesday. That was the smallest rise since the first three months of 2012.

The housing market began to slow last summer amid higher prices and mortgage rates, as many buyers put their home searches on hold. More homes have also come up for sale recently, further blunting the ability of sellers to command ever-higher prices in fervent bidding wars.

The number of houses and condos for sale climbed 6.5 percent last quarter, compared with a year earlier, the Realtors group said.

Home prices, however, are still rising. The median price for a previously owned single-family home rose in 71 percent of the major markets tracked by the Realtors, down slightly from 74 percent in the first quarter.

The current pace is more sustainable than the rapid gains of last year, which weren’t supported by inflation and wage growth, said Lawrence Yun, the trade group’s chief economist.

“At this slower but healthier rate, homeowners can continue steadily building equity,” he said in a statement. “Meanwhile, for buyers, increased supply with moderate price gains is giving them better opportunities to choose.”