Homebuyers Catching a Break in Some of the Hottest U.S. Markets

(Bloomberg) -- Finally, some good news for homebuyers in Austin, Dallas, Honolulu and a handful of other red-hot markets across the U.S.: Asking prices are cooling off.

In March, median list prices fell 5.4 percent from a year earlier in San Antonio followed by Austin, with a 3.4 percent drop, and Honolulu, with a 1.4 percent decline, according to a new report from Trulia that focuses on 10 of the country’s 100 biggest housing markets. Asking prices were little changed or only slightly higher in the other seven cities.

Homebuyers Catching a Break in Some of the Hottest U.S. Markets

One thing nine of the 10 markets have in common is that listing inventories grew from a year earlier and that probably tamped down asking prices, according to Felipe Chacon, housing economist at the real estate website. Supplies were down only in economically depressed Camden, New Jersey.

One of the most extreme examples is Austin, a Texas mecca for technology companies and rock bands, where home construction is booming. Starter-home listings jumped 150 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier.

“The story over the past six years was one of steady inventory decline, so these are big increases upward,” Chacon said in a phone interview. In some markets, “this is possibly the beginnings of inventory turning around and home-price growth slowing from a breakneck pace.”

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