Integrated Asset Services®, LLC (IAS®) (www.iasreo.com), a leader in default management and residential collateral valuation, today released its latest IAS360™ House Price Index. The benchmark for national house prices, based upon the timeliest and most granular data available in the industry, moved up a fraction of a point in April.
April’s report reflects the first non-declining numbers for the index in 10 months. The IAS360 had fallen more than 19% from its high-water mark in June of 2007.
On a year-over-year basis, U.S. house prices are still down 13.0%, but the volatility of the trend line is less than the previous year, a critical point to industry analysts. More importantly, three of the four U.S. census regions were stable to positive for April. Only the South, which includes several particularly hard-hit Florida communities, was down for the month (0.3%), but there, too, the trend line was flattening.
“It’s too soon to call this a turn in the housing market, particularly given all the political and regulatory uncertainties,” said Dave McCarthy, President and CEO of Integrated Asset Services. “I think that we’re still in for some difficult spells ahead, but we are seeing a certain kind of pricing equilibrium in several important markets. That’s encouraging for the long term.”
Among metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), IAS360 reports that three of the country’s ten largest MSAs—Boston, Chicago, and San Diego—joined Denver, previously the only region in the nation showing gains, in positive territory in April.
“Inventory levels are declining and sales are increasing in the lower priced markets through a combination of incentives and low interest rates creating a positive outlook for the entire market,” said Rick Foos, President of SRA Foos & Associates, Inc. “However, if we begin to see rising interest rates and an increase in foreclosures in tandem we could be experiencing a “false bottom”, but if neither materializes to a great degree then it does appear that the market may have bottomed.”
IAS360 data also revealed certain evidence of normalization, or at least a return to seasonality, in California, arguably the first and foremost damaged state in the U.S. (six of the 10 hardest-hit counties in the country are in California.) Representative counties up and down the state, including Monterey, San Bernadino, Ventura, Riverside, Sacramento, Sonoma, and King, continue to report convincing upticks in housing prices. For its part, the aforementioned San Diego, down almost 24% from its high in 2007, has reported three straight months of stable prices.
“We’re looking at daily information on more than 15,000 market segments across the country,” said McCarthy, “and we’re keeping a keen eye out for trends all the way down to the county and neighborhood level. With the benefit of our uniquely granular and timelier data, the IAS360 will report the turn in the market first.”
The IAS360 House Price Index is a comprehensive housing index tracking monthly change in the median sales price of detached single-family residences across the U.S. The index, based on all arms-length transactions, tracks data of 15,000 “neighborhoods”, which are rolled up to report on the changes in 360 counties, nine census divisions, four regions, and the nation overall. The IAS360 House Price Index is delivered on a monthly basis.