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Thursday, April 05, 2012

Trulia announces new "mix adjusted" House Asking Price Monitor, Prices up 1.4% from Q4

by Calculated Risk on 4/05/2012 10:00:00 AM

This is an interesting new asking price monitor from Trulia. Usually people report median asking prices, but unfortunately the median is impacted by the mix of homes. However Trulia adjusts the asking prices both for the mix of homes listed for sale and for seasonal factors. Of course this is just asking prices, not sales prices, but this might provide an early hint at changes in house prices.

This has the advantage of giving a much earlier look at prices than the repeat sales indexes. As an example, the recent Case-Shiller report was for "January". But that was really a three month average of November, December and January - and the index is based on recorded closing prices - so some of this index was based on contracts signed last September. That is 6 or even 7 months ago.

The Trulia monitor will be released monthly, and the report today is for asking prices in March.

From Trulia:

Trulia today launched the Trulia Price Monitor and the Trulia Rent Monitor, the earliest leading indicators available of trends in home prices and rents. Based on the for-sale homes and rentals listed on, these Monitors take into account changes in the mix of listed homes, reflecting trends in prices and rents for similar homes in similar neighborhoods through March 31, 2012.

Nationally, asking prices on for-sale homes – which lead sales prices by approximately two or more months – were 1.4 percent higher in March than one quarter ago. Prices increased month over month 0.9 percent in March and 0.6 percent in February. The Trulia Price Monitor is seasonally adjusted, so these monthly and quarterly increases are on top of typical springtime price jumps. Unadjusted for seasonality, asking prices rose 2.4 percent quarter over quarter. According to the Monitor, asking prices had been declining prior to February and reached a low in January.
“Asking prices rose in February and March, but this doesn’t mean that the bottom is forever behind us. The robo-signing settlement will accelerate the foreclosure process, pushing more homes onto the market and dragging down prices in areas that suffered most from the housing crash,” said Jed Kolko, Trulia’s Chief Economist.
Click on graph for larger image.

The first graph from Trulia shows the month over month prices changes (seasonally adjusted) as reported by the monitor. This shows asking prices were falling for most of 2011, but have turned up in early 2012.

Here is a list of price and rent changes for the 100 largest metro areas.

And here is a map from Trulia showing the year-over-year change in asking prices.

On a year-over-year basis many MSAs are still in the red (as opposed to quarter-over-quarter or month-over-month). According to the list of cities, 41 MSAs (out of 100) had increasing asking prices year-over-year, and 67 quarter-over-quarter.

There are still many more distressed sales to come, and asking prices could turn down again - but this does suggest prices have turned up recently.