Quarterly Drop in Home Prices Doesn’t Budge 5.1% Annual Gain

Fri, May 7, 2010


Home prices across the United States continue to slide in the quarterly context, but industry data released Thursday indicates that when you widen the scope, year-over-year numbers are still showing a healthy bounce-back from the depressed levels recorded in 2009.

Add to that the fact that REOs are coming to market at a much slower pace, and analysts at the real estate valuation firm Clear Capital say it just might mean the rapid deterioration in the housing market will have a shorter lifespan than originally feared.

Clear Capital reported that nationally, home prices slipped 5.0 percent in April when compared to three months earlier. The decline represents a further 1.1 percentage point reduction from the quarterly decline reported last month.

But on a positive note, Clear Capital says this is a marked slowdown in the rate of decline. A 3.9 percentage point drop was seen between the months of February and March.

The fall-off seems to suggest typical seasonal patterns, since even with the quarterly decline the annual price difference remained unchanged from Clear Capital’s
last report – year-over-year, residential property values are showing a 5.1 percent gain nationally.

The increase in the nation’s REO saturation rate slowed last month, according to Clear Capital’s report, rising less than one percentage point to 29.6 percent. The company’s data shows, though, that market-to-market variations in REO inventories can best be described as extreme.

“An interesting dynamic we’re observing is the clear distinction between markets that are resilient to increased levels of bank owned properties and those which continue to be highly sensitive,” said Dr. Alex Villacorta, Senior Statistician, Clear Capital.

Villacorta says the highest performing metro areas have seen prices remain relatively flat over the last quarter despite REO saturation rates averaging just above 33 percent. Contrast this with the lowest performing areas which have seen prices drop more than 10 percent on average although REO saturation rates are well below those of the highest performing areas.

For example, the San Diego metro, which also includes Carlsbad and San Marcos, California, was one of the few areas to show a quarter-over-quarter price gain in April, up 1.5 percent. Prices from a year ago there are up 12.5 percent. Yet, the REO saturation within the metros housing inventory is 35.0 percent, according to Clear Capital’s numbers.

Travel down to Louisiana, to the metro area of New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, and the data shows home prices fell 12.6 percent on a quarterly basis and are down 2.8 percent from a year ago. The REO saturation level there – 17.6 percent.

“This paradox suggests that price trends are not wholly dependent on distressed sale volume, and re-enforces the need to understand local market trends,” Villacorta said


Leave a Reply