US property price at their most stable for a decade, say analysts

by Ray Clancy on June 5, 2012

Residential property prices increased on a quarterly and annual basis nationally

Residential property prices in the US have increased on a quarterly and an annual basis nationally, according to the latest data from real estate data provider Clear Capital.

Its Home Data Index shows that it is the first time in two years that both indicators have risen in the same period.

The West, South and Northeast saw both quarterly and yearly price gains and the only area with price declines was the Midwest, but that area’s declines were less severe when compared to April’s report.

‘Home prices continue to show relative strength in April with virtually no change over the short term and tapering losses over the longer term,’ said Alex Villacorta, director of research and analytics at Clear Capital.

‘There has been quite a bit of buzz in the housing industry surrounding turning REOs into rentals. Our data suggests early activity from these programmes could be starting to take effect, with national REO only home price gains on a price per square foot basis vastly outpacing fair market prices on a national level,’ he explained.

‘Should investor interest continue to drive the expansion of REO to rental programmes over the next several months, there could be a significant impact on the market overall in terms of providing a rising floor to home values,’ he added.

Quarter on quarter results were notable only in how little change was seen this month, with numbers very similar with the price changes reported last month.

The nation lost a little ground with quarterly losses of 0.2%, showing continuing price stability over previous months’ reports.

For the past five months, price movement at the regional level has settled in under 1% on a quarterly basis except in the Midwest, which the firm said is a level of stability not seen for a decade.

As the West, Northeast, and South are all in positive territory, significant losses in the Midwest are pulling down national numbers. The Midwest lost 2.7% of its value over the quarter, which is the fifth month of declines for this beleaguered region. Despite mild winter weather and an early spring, it wasn’t enough to kick off a home buying season in this region.

Looking at yearly results, prices are down 1% compared to last year, which is an improvement over the -1.4% loss posted in April’s Market Report.

The Northeast, a market that has held up well throughout the housing crisis, posted a light 0.7% increase in prices year on year, while the rest of the regions are still trying to climb back into positive territory.

The West and South, while still negative for the year, also saw improvements over last month’s report, shrinking their annual losses by 1.4% and 0.3% respectively.

Midwest year on year performance paints a very different picture, a loss of 4%, which is deeper than last month’s yearly loss of 3.8%.

The Phoenix market, hard hit in the housing meltdown, is starting to sizzle with quarterly values increasing 3.8% more than the next highest MSA. Phoenix also tops the Highest Performing 15 list for the second month and has been either leading or in second spot on this list since February. However, with peak to current values at -58.2%, there is still a long way to go for Phoenix to see the values it once had.

The Milwaukee MSA is the hardest hit market in April with a dramatic quarterly loss of 12.5%. This loss is 5% more than the second hardest hit MSA, Columbus, Ohio, which posted a loss of 7.5%.

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