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Washington, DCCNN — 

The median price of a US home was lower this February than it was in February 2022, ending more than a decade of year-over-year increases, the longest on record, according to a National Association of Realtors report released Tuesday.

The median existing home price was $363,000 in February, down 0.2% from a year ago. This marks the first monthly year-over-year price decline since February 2012.

Regionally, prices fell more from a year ago in the West (down 5.6%) and Northeast (down 4.5%), where housing is more expensive. But prices were still climbing from last year in the South (up 2.7%) and the Midwest (up 5%).

“This is not the bottom for prices,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for NAR. “We expect a continuing price correction, but we are not expecting prices to crash.”

The median decrease is so small, he said, it is essentially flat. But it marks the first technical drop in median home prices that is expected to continue.

“Could we see 5% decline? Sure, but we could also see 5% increase. My forecast has prices declining 2% this year,” he said.

But home sales vaulted higher, marking the largest monthly percentage increase since July 2020, which itself was an anomaly of the pandemic as some restrictions loosened that month to allow a backlog of sales.

US home sales surged in February, following a full year of declining home sales due to surging mortgage rates and prices that remained elevated, which kept homebuyers out of the market. February’s reversal in sales also ended the longest streak of month-to-month declining home sales on record, going back to 1999 for all homes and 1968 for single-family homes.

Sales of existing homes — which include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops — shot up 14.5% in February from January. But sales were down 22.6% from a year ago.

The seasonally adjusted annualized sales pace dropped from 5.92 million units a year ago to 4.58 million. The steep decline in sales activity is driven by the large increase of mortgage rates over the past year.