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Rising U.S. home prices cooling off, just in time for spring selling season

U.S. home prices are cooling off for spring
  • Fast-rising home prices are stabilizing nationwide, according to the Case-Schiller 20-city index of real estate sales. 
  • Home values in the 20 cities tracked rose just 3 percent year-ver-year in February, down from s 3.5 percent annual gain in January, Case-Shiller reported. 
  • More realistic home prices and increasing inventory is creating a buyer's market for many Americans heading into the spring homebuying season.   

After many years of outsized gains, home prices nationwide are stabilizing just in time for the 2019 spring homebuying season.

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index in February rose only 3 percent from a year earlier, down from a 3.5 percent annual gain in January.

After cratering in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, home values started to climb in 2012 and since then have been consistently outstripping wage growth, spurring affordability challenges in many cities. Successive home price increases made it difficult for prospective buyers to save for a down payment and for home owners to upgrade to a more expensive property.

As rising prices slow down some, an increase in inventory is also helping to create a buyer's market for Americans heading into homebuying season. Pending home sales increased 3.8 percent in March from From February, jumping nearly 9 percent in the West and just over 4 percent in the South, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Selling your home? Don't get socked by surprise costs

While home price increases are cooling nationwide, including in growing tech centers like Seattle, they're still spiking in metro areas along the Sun Belt. Las Vegas saw a near-10 percent price increase year-over-year in February, Phoenix nearly 7 percent, and Tampa about 5.5 percent.

Inland cities like Atlanta, Denver, and Minneapolis also all saw increased prices of more than 4 percent, meaning they rose at double the rate of inflation. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.