Integrated Asset Services LLC (IAS), a default management and residential collateral valuations, has released its IAS360 House Price Index (HPI). Based on the timeliest and most granular data available in the industry, the benchmark index for national house prices gained 1.6 percent in May. The latest IAS report, which reflects the largest one-month increase in the IAS360 HPI since July of 2005, follows a fractional gain in April. The index had previously fallen more than 19 percent from its high-water mark in June of 2007.
U.S. house prices are still down 10.5 percent year-over-year, but all four of the U.S. census regions reported positive numbers for May. In order of gains, the Northeast was up 3.2 percent, the Midwest 1.9 percent, the South 1.1 percent and the West 0.9 percent. The South was the only census region down in April.
“Two month's worth of positive data hardly signals a turn in the national housing market," said Dave McCarthy, president and CEO of Integrated Asset Services, “but we have to be encouraged by what we’re seeing in several important counties and neighborhoods.”
In fact, the IAS360 HPI reported gains in May for nine of the nation’s 10 largest metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), a notable turnaround from just two months ago when Denver was the only region in the nation with positive performance. For its part, Denver added another 0.4 percent in May, while Boston and Chicago followed solid April numbers with increases of 3.7 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively. The gains in the West, meanwhile, were particularly apparent with San Francisco up three percent, Los Angeles 2.8 percent and San Diego 1.2 percent. Only the Las Vegas housing market continued to slide with a drop of 0.9 percent for the month.
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“We’re seeing a mix shift in home sales and that’s manifesting itself as increased pricing,” said John Burns, CEO of John Burns Real Estate Consulting. “For a while, the bulk of homes sales were distressed properties in declining neighborhoods. Home affordability combined with tax credits have proven compelling. Sales are shifting back to more traditional submarkets and neighborhoods. That said, there is still a lot of downward pressure on pricing due to foreclosures and recent changes in the appraisal process. We aren’t out of the woods yet.”
“With all of the political and regulatory uncertainties combined with rising unemployment and foreclosure inventories, it’s too soon to speculate that a housing recovery is really here,” said McCarthy. “However, I’m confident that the IAS360 will be the first to report a turn in the markets when they start to occur.”
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, that roll 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.
For more information, visit www.iasreo.com.