Monday, April 26, 2010

First American CoreLogic: House Prices Decline 2.0% in February

by Bill McBride on 4/26/2010 10:48:00 AM

The Fed's favorite house price indicator from First American CoreLogic’s LoanPerformance ...

From LoanPerformance: Home Price Index Shows First Annual Increase in Over Three Years, But Shadow Inventory and End of Tax Credit Program May Result in Further Declines

National home prices, including distressed sales, increased by 0.3 percent in February 2010 compared to February 2009, according to First American CoreLogic and its LoanPerformance Home Price Index (HPI). This was an improvement over January’s year-over-year price decline of 0.5 percent. Excluding distressed sales, year-over-year prices increased in February by 0.6 percent; an improvement over the January non-distressed HPI which fell by 1.1 percent year-over-year.

On a month-over-month basis, the national average home price index fell by 2.0 percent in February 2010 compared to January 2010, which was steeper than the previous one-month decline of 1.6 percent from December to January. Prices are typically weak in the winter months, so seasonal effects may be driving this one-month change.
Loan Performance House Price Index Click on graph for larger image in new window.

This graph shows the national LoanPerformance data since 1976. January 2000 = 100.

The index is up 0.3% over the last year, and off 30.6% from the peak.

House prices are off 4.9% from the recent peak in August 2009 (although some of the decline is seasonal).

With all the distressed sales and government programs, it is hard to separate the seasonal factors from other distortions. However I expect that we will see lower prices on this index later this year - as does CoreLogic (from the press release):
After a modest increase this spring and summer, the national single-family combined index is projected to decline by 3.4 percent from February 2010 to February 2011 assuming the expiration of current Federal Housing Stimulus programs.