US housing market off to shaky start in 2019 amid price dip, sluggish construction

Price growth recorded slowest growth in 4 years

Feb.February 27, 2019 11:30 AM

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U.S. housing prices recorded their slowest growth in four years during 2018, signaling that this year may be a trying time for the real estate industry.

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index, which tracks average home prices in cities across the country, rose 4.7 percent by the end of December, down from 6 percent the previous year — the slowest growth margin since 2014, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Construction has also taken a hit. Housing starts dropped 11.2 percent in December from the previous month, marking the most significant decline in two years. For all of 2018, new single-family home constructions grew 2.8 percent in 2018, down from 8.5 percent the prior year.

Taken together, the declining indicators could spell out a rough 2019 for the real estate market.

“This year probably isn’t going to be gangbusters,” Ralph McLaughlin, deputy chief economist at CoreLogic, told the Journal. “It’s probably not going to collapse, but it’s not going to be a record year on many fronts.”

In December, homebuyer Redfin predicted that 2019 housing price growth would decline to 3 percent in the first half of the year, but added there is a “real chance” prices could fall into negative growth for the first time since 2011. [WSJ] — David Jeans

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