Thursday, May 10, 2012

LPS: House Price Index increased 0.2% in February

by Bill McBride on 5/10/2012 08:21:00 PM

Note: The timing of different house prices indexes can be a little confusing. LPS uses February closings only (not an average) and this tends to be closer to what other indexes report for March. The LPS index is seasonally adjusted.

From LPS: LPS Home Price Index Shows U.S. Home Price Increase of 0.2 Percent in February; Early Data Suggests Further Increase of 0.3 Percent is Likely During March

The updated LPS HPI national home price for transactions during February 2012 increased 0.2 percent to a level on par with those seen in June 2003 ...

"Our HPI shows an increase in seasonally adjusted prices this month for the first time since March 2010, and for only the third time in five years,” said Raj Dosaj, vice president of LPS Applied Analytics. “There have been signs of price declines slowing for a few months now, and our estimates for next month are flat to slightly positive. Without a pickup in sales volumes from their current anemic levels, it’s hard to be more optimistic that the market may be nearing the end of its fall.

“Reasons for caution are clear, as we’ve been here before. Non-seasonally adjusted prices increased for a few months in early 2009, 2010 and 2011 – trends that all ended by summer, after which all the gains – and then some – were lost. As is true this month, those temporary increases were on low sales volumes – about 30 percent lower than at any point since 1998. Furthermore, the inventory of distressed homes remains high, which will continue to put a drag on prices.”
LPS HPI Click on graph for larger image.

From LPS:
During the period of most rapid price declines, from April 2007 through April 2009, the LPS HPI national home price fell at an average annual rate of 9.3 percent. ... The slowest declining trend lasted from about April 2009 to April 2010, dates which are marked in Figure 1. ... The expiration of the first-time buyers’ tax incentive in April 2010 marks the start of a steadier decline in house prices. Figure 1 shows the trends for the three different post-bubble intervals.

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