The new stability comes as a result of opposite, competing pressures. Higher interest rates and higher home prices are cooling off demand, while low inventories are straining supply, heating the market up. The forces cancel each other out, at least in part, which might be a good thing.

The interest rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage, adjusted for inflation, has risen 1.33 percentage points since May. That rate of increase is "unheard-of," Jon Shrum, a loan officer in Southern California, told me. That change would raise the monthly payment by 15.2%.