Housing market reports for the final months of the year continue to surface, but most remain positive including the Federal Housing Finance Agency's House Price Index for November.
According to the report, home prices increased 0.6 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from the previous month, which also posted a 0.6 percent gain in values. For the entire year, FHFA noted prices were up 5.6 percent. Despite notable improvements to home prices throughout 2012, the HPI is 15.2 percent the peak seen in April 2007 but nearly matches the HPI from August 2004.
While the economic recovery has been slow, and economists expect it to take even longer for levels to return to pre-housing market slump figures, home prices have continued to increase on a month-over-month basis since January 2011. Mortgage rates will likely remain low, though home prices are predicted to post a notable gain in 2013.
Some regions post more significant price strengthening
When looking at home prices from November 2011, all regions posted a year-over-year gain, though some didn't see sizable improvements like Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico - which all make up the Mountain region which posted a 14.8 percent increase.
West North Central, East North Central, East South Central, New England and the Mid-Atlantic regions all posted gains under five percent, while the Pacific, South Atlantic and West South Central saw higher improvements.
Those areas that saw more significant gains include states that had less of a low point to recover from, including Alaska, Washington Oregon, Texas and Arkansas.
Other data firms agree that 2013 will post higher home prices, likely due to higher sales seen last year. This helped eliminate the large inventory of homes for sale, some of which were foreclosed houses that prevented prices from posting larger gains in some parts of the country.
With less existing homes for sale on the market, buyers are demanding more new construction, which has led to increased business and confidence for builders. Additionally, consumers who hear positive reports regarding the economy and the national housing market have reported being more confident in buying and selling.