National home prices, including distressed sales, increased by 1.7 percent in March 2010 compared to March 2009, according to ""CoreLogic's Home Price Index (HPI)"":http://www.corelogic.com/About-Us/News/March-2010-CoreLogic-Home-Price-Index-Shows-Second-Consecutive-Annual-Increase,-Long-Term-Forecast-Strengthens.aspx released Wednesday.
[IMAGE] The March data was an improvement over February's year-over-year price increase of 0.8 percent, and marked the second straight month that CoreLogic has recorded annual gains in home prices, breaking a depreciation streak of more than three years.
On a month-over-month basis, the company reported that home prices nationally fell by 0.3 percent in March, which was more moderate than the previous one month decline of 1.7 percent from January to February.
The stabilization that seems to be finding its way into home prices is a welcome break from the freefalling days of the past few years that have put so many borrowers underwater.[COLUMN_BREAK]
CoreLogic says the peak-to-current change in its national HPI (from April 2006 to March 2010) is -30.5 percent when distressed transactions are included in the calculation. Excluding distressed properties, the peak-to-current change in the HPI is -21.5 percent.
""March's year-over-year increase in the HPI shows that the housing market is continuing to exhibit signs of stability,"" said Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic. ""The differences between trends, including and excluding distressed sales, indicate the strong influence of distressed activity remains.""
Going into the summer months ahead, Fleming warns that the recent price growth will quickly fade as the influence of the homebuyer tax credit and the spring buying season recede. And because of the market's swollen inventory of distressed properties, CoreLogic expects home prices nationally to fall another 5 percent over the next 12 months.
Detroit (-6.1 percent) is predicted to have the most price depreciation over the next year, followed by Seattle (-4.1 percent), Nassau-Suffolk, New York (-3.4 percent), and Baltimore (-3.3 percent).
Longer-term, the companyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s forecast for home prices is more positive as the national economic recovery is expected to gain further traction in 2011. By March 2012, CoreLogic expects national home prices to increase by 2.7 percent.