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Chris Gash for Money

As the U.S. housing market sizzled during the pandemic, home price growth, at times, looked unstoppable.

But there’s a growing consensus among experts that home prices will not continue to rise with the same breakneck momentum of the last few years. Economists say rising mortgage rates are now causing a housing slowdown that could reverse the upward movement in home prices, or at least slow price growth down.

Between May 2020 and May 2022, U.S. home prices increased by more than 40%, according to real estate brokerage Redfin. Buyers found themselves in bidding wars and homes were selling above asking price in a matter of days. Only in the last couple months have prices started to moderate.

A big cause of the shift is that it’s an expensive time to borrow money for a home, with mortgage rates creeping toward 7%. This time last year, the average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was just under 3%.

The increased cost of borrowing has reduced the number of buyers who can afford homes, slowing the pace of sales. However, the housing stock remains tight in many parts of the country. Homes haven’t been built and repaired fast enough to keep pace with home buying demand, and would-be sellers are thinking twice about listing their homes because they feel locked in to their current mortgages. The lack of inventory is keeping the market fairly competitive, at least for now.

Some housing economists are forecasting significant declines in home prices in the months ahead, while others expect prices to continue to move up — just at a slower clip.

Here are five expert predictions on where home prices are headed — starting with the most bearish forecasts. The text has been lightly edited: