Integrated Asset Services LLC (IAS), a leader in default management and residential collateral valuations, has released the latest IAS360 House Price Index (HPI). Based on the timeliest and most granular data available in the industry, the index for national house prices fell 0.6 percent in September. Compared to the 3.1 percent decline for the same period last year, the modest decline for the leading U.S. housing benchmark indicates the typical seasonal downturn has been somewhat delayed.
Price increases in several large counties in California largely offset the noticeably downward trend for many regions around the country. Substantial gains in previously hard-hit counties like Fresno, San Bernardino, San Joaquin led to an overall 1.1 percent increase for the West, the only U.S. census region with an increase for the month. The Northeast dropped 3.1%, the Midwest 2.1%, and the South 1.2 percent.
“The number of transactions is generally up in all geographic areas,” said Dave McCarthy, president and CEO of Integrated Asset Services. “It’s very interesting that activity is more pronounced in areas with declining prices. This indicates to me that there is some bargain hunting going on.”
Much of September’s activity could also be due to the rush to take advantage of the government’s first-time homebuyers tax credit. The program, which has provided first-time home buyers tax credits of up to $8,000 since January, was scheduled to expire at the end of November until Congress voted last week to extend and expand the tax credit for another six months. The credit makes it more attractive to purchase lower priced properties.
“Along with extensions in unemployment benefits, the tax credit could prop up the market for a time,” says McCarthy, “but in my opinion the government’s intervention will ultimately delay a final recovery.”
The IAS360 House Price Index considers non-conforming, bank-owned, and conventional sales transactions in addition to those insured by the FHA and VA. For even greater specificity the index separates transaction by property type. Beginning with September’s report, the IAS360 HPI will also include REO transactions along with arms-length transactions for a more accurate comparison, competing with traditional house price indexes including the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index.
The IAS360 uses “next generation” trending methodology to identify market trends earlier than any other index. Unlike indices that utilize weighted-repeat sales methodologies and smoothing that delay reporting actual market swings, the IAS360 reports changes when they happen. The IAS360 is published weeks earlier than competing HPIs and, unlike other indexes, refreshes historical trends as new data becomes available for the most accurate and useful view of the market.
For more information, visit www.iasreo.com.