Home prices ease up in quarter ending in January, report finds

Based on real estate records and other property data compiled by Clear Capital, the firm's Home Data Index Market Report for the quarter ending in January shows home prices fell markedly.

Based on real estate records and other property data compiled by Clear Capital, the firm's Home Data Index Market Report for the quarter ending in January shows home prices fell markedly.

From the same period a year earlier, prices dipped 2.6 percent. Additionally, they fell 1.6 percent on a quarter-over-quarter basis. The most significant quarterly and yearly drops were recorded in the Midwest.

In the region, prices declined 4 percent from the previous quarter and 5.2 percent from the quarter ending in January 2011. Meanwhile, prices decreased on a quarter-to-quarter basis in the Northeast, West and South as well. The only region to see prices rise at all was the Northeast, where they grew 0.1 percent from the year before.

"When we look at the strength in the bottom tier of prices, the volatility within the metro markets, the rapid changes in direction with certain regions, and relative stability in others, these factors underscore the economic and market fragility that remains a dark cloud over housing prices," said Dr. Alex Villacorta, Clear Capital's director of research and analytics.

Based on the nation's major markets covered in the report, Clear Capital notes the Birmingham metro area was the highest-performing market in terms of home price appreciation during the latest period. The region experienced a price hike of 4.3 percent on a quarterly basis, though it saw prices slip more than 2 percent annually.

Other markets to perform well during the period include the metro Phoenix and Washington, D.C. areas, where home prices improved 3.2 and 2.1 percent, respectively between November and January.

Hard-hit housing markets including Detroit, Milwaukee and Atlanta topped the report's list of worst-performing markets regarding home prices, as they dipped by at least 7 percent in each region.

Another report released at the end of January indicated home prices decreased more than many analysts predicted they would in November. The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices shows prices fell nearly 4 percent from the same month a year earlier.

Regarding this report's findings, Nomura Securities International senior economist Ellen Zentner told Bloomberg prices could continue to get closer to bottoming out.



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