Lansner: By many counts, home prices rising

Business Columnist

Jan 30th 2013

Our periodic review of economic trends ponders the growing body of evidence of a serious home-price rebound.

NEWS: The widely watched S&P/Case-Shiller home price index came out Tuesday. The benchmarks – derived from tracking gains and losses on home sales on a 90-day moving average – showed that home prices in 20 key cities for November were collectively up at a 5.5 percent annual rate. S&P said 19 of the 20 cities – minus New York – had price gains in the year.

Article Tab: CoreLogic's Mark Fleming says his index's upswing suggests prices will remain strong. The gains made in 2012 will likely be sustained into 2013.
CoreLogic’s Mark Fleming says his index’s upswing “suggests prices will remain strong. The gains made in 2012 will likely be sustained into 2013.”

MORE EVIDENCE: If you need convincing that appreciation is back, please consider:

•DataQuick tracks a median selling price of results in 98 major U.S. markets on a weekly basis. This index showed selling prices up 13 percent, year-over-year, in its last December reading. I’ll note – for the skeptics – that the latest reading, as of Jan. 24, showed prices gaining at just a 9.2 percent annual rate, the slowest appreciation since June.

•The final national price index for 2012 from Truckee-based Clear Capital showed prices up 4.9 percent last year. Prices in Western states led the pack, up 11.9 percent, by this math.

•CoreLogic, data trackers from Irvine, put nationwide price gains, year-over-year, at 7.4 percent in November. By this math, that’s the fastest rate of appreciation since May 2006 and the ninth consecutive year-over-year gain.

•Number crunchers at FNC – a spinoff of the old Fidelity Title from Orange County – look at both sales transactions and appraisals to build their index. FNC finds: For the 12 months ending in November, U.S. home prices rose 4.2 percent – the largest year-over-year increase since October 2006

•The Federal Housing Finance Agency’s price index shows U.S. homes up 5.6 percent in the year ended in November. This index tracks data from loans bought by large government agencies and is seen as a gauge of what’s up with more modestly priced homes.

VERDICT: What they’re saying …

•S&P’s David Blitzer: “Housing is clearly recovering. Prices are rising as are both new and existing home sales. Existing home sales in November were the highest since November 2009. New home sales were the highest since June 2010. These figures confirm that housing is contributing to economic growth.”

•CoreLogic’s Mark Fleming says his index’s upswing, “suggests prices will remain strong. The gains made in 2012 will likely be sustained into 2013.”

•Clear Capital’s Alex Villacorta: “Whether by perception or actual decrease in buying power for the average consumer, residual effects of the fiscal cliff deal could cause housing to change course. … 2013 should be interesting for the housing market, where national gains should continue to see upward growth but likely at a more modest rate.”

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