Housing Market Sees Signs of Stability: Clear Capital

The housing market may be stabilizing as house prices and REO saturation rates show little change on a quarterly and yearly basis, according to Clear Capital’s most recent Home Data Index.

Nationally, prices rose just 0.3 percent while REO saturation rate was relatively unchanged at 24.6 percent over the most recent quarter, according to Clear Capital data ending in November. Clear Capital measures housing data on a rolling quarter, which compares the most recent four months with the previous three.

“With only a one percent drop in national home prices since January and virtually no change in prices over the last six months, strong evidence suggests the big swings that many market participants are accustomed to could become a thing of the past,” said Dr. Alex Villacorta, director of research and analytics at Clear Capital.

Villacorta also reiterated a point he and other analysts made at a panel discussion a few days ago at the Five Star MPact Conference and Expo: Market data must be granular to be effective.

“Although many of the nation’s major markets are experiencing no significant movement in prices, there are still several micro markets that are underperforming the overall market due to high levels of REO saturation,” Villacorta said in the Home Data Index.

He continued: “As lien holders continue to process their foreclosures and the flow of REOs continue to come to market, it will be critical for industry participants to ensure they understand the micro economic nature of specific markets.”

Over the recent quarter, prices changed by less than one percentage point in three of four U.S. regions, while the Midwest demonstrated a price increase of 1.2 percent.

The West was the only region to post a decline, falling 0.8 percent over the quarter. This decline is slightly lower than the quarterly price decline reported last month in the region – 1 percent.

“As this improvement comes at the beginning of the winter slow down, it suggests the stubborn quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year declines seen consistently in the hard hit region may be easing,” stated Clear Capital’s report.

The Northeast posted a 0.5 percent increase for the quarter, and the South posted a 0.2 percent increase.

While price changes did not vary drastically from region to region, they also did not vary widely from market to market.

The difference between the No. 1 highest performing market – Washington D.C. – and the 15th highest performing market – Cleveland, Ohio (1.7 percent) was just 3.1 percent.

However, the difference between the top and bottom ranked markets on the list of 15 lowest performing markets was much greater. In the No. 1 spot, Atlanta posted a 9.7 percent decline, while Dallas, at No. 15, posted a 0.4 percent decline.

Atlanta’s decline is likely the result of a decrease in transactions and an increase in distressed properties.

In keeping with Villacorta’s assertion that some markets are underperforming due to high REO saturation rates, Atlanta’s REO saturation rate is 42.8 percent, significantly higher than the national rate of 24.6 percent.

Also notable, Florida, which has seen a 59.1 percent decline in prices since their 2006 peak, has seen a 12 percent decline in REO saturation over the past year.

Additionally, four Florida metro markets – all of which experienced high foreclosure rates and sharp price declines over the past two years – held positions on the list of 15 highest performing markets for the second month in a row. Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville, and Miami are now seeing rising prices.

Article courtesy of DSNews.com.