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Thursday, May 03, 2012

Trulia on Houses: Asking Prices increase slightly Year-over-year in April

by Calculated Risk on 5/03/2012 10:28:00 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 "February". But that was really a three month average of December, January and February, and since the index is based on closing prices, some of this index was based on contracts signed last October. That is 6 or even 7 months ago.

From Trulia: Strong Housing Demand and Tightening Inventories Spark Nearly 2 Percent Rise in Asking Prices over Previous Quarter

Asking prices on for-sale homes–which lead sales prices by approximately two or more months–were 0.5 percent higher in April than in March, seasonally adjusted. Together with increases in March and February, asking prices in April rose nationally 1.9 percent quarter over quarter (Q-o-Q), seasonally adjusted. The price increase unadjusted for seasonality was even higher: 4.8 percent Q-o-Q, since prices typically jump in springtime. Year over year (Y-o-Y), asking prices rose 0.2 percent nationally.
“Housing prices have already bottomed with asking prices on the rise for three straight months. Aside from a stumble in December, asking prices have been stable or rising for the last eight months,” said Jed Kolko, Trulia’s Chief Economist. “Prices have joined the recovery, alongside sales and construction. But foreclosures threaten prices, especially in judicial-foreclosure states like Florida, New Jersey, Illinois and New York, where many more distressed sales are still to come.”
Click on graph for larger image.

This 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.

This is a small year-over-year increase, up from a 0.7% year-over-year decrease in March. Since asking prices tend to lead the repeat sales indexes by two or more months, this suggests that the repeat sales indexes might turn positive year-over-year in June or July (of course the June index will not be released until the end of August).