Will U.S. Home Prices Drop in 2023? (Hint: They Already Are)

  • Some analysts predict that U.S. home prices could drop in 2023.
  • Recent reports have shown that some markets are already declining.
  • House values rose at an unprecedented pace over the past 18 months.
  • But the real estate market is cooling steadily in 2022, as buyers pull back.

Will home prices in the U.S. drop in 2023? This is what a lot of home buyers, homeowners, and real estate professionals want to know, as we approach the fall of 2022.

It’s a valid concern, especially for home buyers. After all, nobody wants to buy a house today only to see its value sink over the next two or three years. That’s how homeowners end up with negative equity. And it’s a very real possibility in today’s unpredictable market.

At this point, it seems almost certain that home prices in many U.S. cities will fall in 2023. In fact, a number of recent reports have shown that house values have already started to dip in some markets.

House Values Are Already Starting to Dip

During the second half of 2020 and all throughout 2021, U.S. home prices rose at a staggering pace. Some of the hottest housing markets, like Austin and Boise, saw year-over-year price gains of more than 30%.

Today, however, we’re seeing a complete reversal in some of these formerly red-hot markets. In Austin, for example, a growing number of sellers are beginning to slash their prices in order to attract buyers. This trend is playing out in cities all across the country, to varying degrees.

A number of recent reports have shown that prices are already dropping when measured month-to-month. For instance, an August 2022 report from the research group at Zillow stated:

“U.S. home values fell 0.1% from June to July, the first decline in the raw Zillow Home Value Index since 2012. Home values fell last month in 30 of the 50 largest metro areas…”

The biggest monthly declines occurred in overheated housing markets like San Jose (-4.5%), Phoenix (-2.8%) and Austin (-2.7%).

The nationwide decline of 0.1% mentioned above might not seem like much. But it could be the beginning of a more sustained drop in prices, especially in those markets that saw the most growth over the past two years.

A recent report from the National Association of REALTORS® also showed some price declines. Earlier this month, the industry group wrote: “The median existing-home sales price climbed 10.8% from one year ago to $403,800. That’s down $10,000, however, from last month’s record high of $413,800.”

The overall theme here is the same: While U.S. home prices are higher today than a year ago, we’re starting to see some declines when measured month-to-month.

Will Home Prices Drop in 2023, or Level Off?

Given these recent reports, it’s only natural to wonder if home prices will drop in 2023. And at this stage, a decline in house values seems all but inevitable.

But it probably won’t happen in across-the-board fashion. Instead, we will likely see a scenario where home prices fall in some housing markets, while continuing upward at a slower pace in others.

Fortune recently asked the economic research group at Moody’s Analytics for its thoughts on home-price trends over the coming months. Moody’s calculated how house values are likely to change in 414 regional housing markets, from Q4 of 2022 through Q4 2023.

The results were a mixed bag. They predicted that home prices would drop in 210 of those housing markets, while continuing to rise in the other 204.

Real estate conditions can vary from one metro area or region to the next. Some housing markets across the U.S. experienced explosive home-price growth over the past two years. Now, those types of markets seem most at risk of a downturn.

Housing Markets Most at Risk of a Downturn

A recent report from the national real estate brokerage Redfin said that “pandemic homebuying hotspots” are more likely to see a drop in home prices. These metro areas experienced a surge in home-buying activity during the pandemic, a trend that boosted prices and sent inventory plummeting.

Now, many of those same real estate markets seem to be on shaky ground, where home prices are concerned.

To quote the July 2022 Redfin report:

“Riverside, Boise, Phoenix and Tampa are among the markets where homeowners stand to lose some of the value they gained over the past two years. Still-affordable Rust Belt metros like Cleveland and Buffalo are most resilient.”

Real estate markets like Boise could use a “reality check” right about now. Home prices in that metro area (and many others across the U.S.) rose so fast over the past 24 months that it created affordability issues for many residents. So, from a social and economic standpoint, a cooling trend would actually be beneficial.

It will be interesting to see if these recent reports, forecasts and trends create hesitancy among home buyers going into 2023. After all, nobody wants to buy a depreciating asset. If buyers begin to pull back in these formerly hot markets, it could put additional downward pressure on prices.

Disclaimer: This report contains predictions and forecasts relating to home prices and other real estate trends. Such views are the equivalent of an educated guess and should be treated as such.