National home prices fell over the course of last year, but a recent report from Clear Capital indicates that the housing market could start to see stability during 2012.
According to Clear Capital's Home Data Index Market Report, home prices declined by 2.1 percent during December compared to the year before, but are expected to edge 0.2 percent higher during the new year.
"Overall, 2011 was a relatively quiet year for U.S. home prices compared to the last five years,” said Clear Capital director of research and analytics Dr. Alex Villacorta. "With national prices down a little more than two percent for the year and sitting at their lowest point since 2001, our projections show that the current balance the market has found will continue through 2012."
However, despite prices remaining relatively flat throughout 2011, the report suggested that regionally, individual markets were painting a much different picture. The report stated that 24 percent of metropolitan areas started to show signs of stabilization during the year.
According to the report, as home prices start to approach bottom, individual markets, such as Florida, which suffered in wake of the housing bubble burst, have started to show a notable increase in home sale transactions, especially in the lower-end of the housing market.
Meanwhile, the National Association of Home Builders recently stated that the industry group's list of improving housing markets roughly doubled at the beginning of 2012.
"The fact that the list of improving housing markets nearly doubled this month shows that a significant, positive trend is developing, and is even more relevant when you consider the expanding geographic distribution of the list – which now includes 31 states and the District of Columbia," said NAHB chairman Bob Nielsen.
Additionally, Nielsen stated that the trend could be even better if it weren't for overly restrictive lending standards and the growing distressed-properties inventory that continue to slow the housing market recovery.
Forty metro areas were added to the list in this month, bringing the total to 76. Meanwhile, only five cities failed to re-qualify - Anchorage, Alaska; Fort Wayne, Indiana; Canton, Ohio; Scranton, Pennsylvania and Charleston, West Virginia.
The report also noted that the list nearly doubling could indicate that a growing number of consumers are looking to capitalize on affordable interest rates and low home prices - especially in areas where it appears that the unemployment rate has stabilized.