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By mid-2022, as mortgage rates suddenly more than doubled, most housing experts predicted that the booming market would finally cool down, after two years of high demand, skyrocketing home prices, and low inventory heated up the market so much that many aspiring buyers found homes simply unaffordable.

Now nine months later, that prediction has widely come true: Home price gains have been weakening every month since last summer, with the average home price nationwide now down six percent from its June peak as sales have dropped, according to S&P Case-Shiller index of prices in 20 major metro areas.

But despite an improvement in affordability, home prices remain higher than they were this time a year ago. And as demand starts coming back, a continued decline in prices seems less than certain.

“At the moment, I would say the U.S. housing market is going through a period of ‘tug of war’, a bit of conflict between buyers and sellers, in terms of trying to figure out where the equilibrium or the bottom is, in terms of sales or prices or even construction activity,” Cris DeRitis, deputy chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, told Newsweek.

Prices had come down “but they haven’t come down in a straight line,” he added.

According to DeRitis, this struggle between sellers and buyers is to be expected during a housing market correction. “It’s not just an immediate decline, unless you have high unemployment. We’re seeing more of an adjustment rather than a sharp fall,” he said.

A Standoff Between Buyers and Sellers