While home prices declined on a year-over-year basis in January 2012, a month-over-month gain was seen when excluding distressed sales, according to CoreLogic's January Home Price Index (HPI).
Prices declined 3.1 percent in January 2012 compared to a year ago in January 2011 and by 1 percent compared to the previous month of December 2011, according to the index.
But, when excluding distressed sales, year-over-year prices declined by 0.9 percent, and a month-over-month gain of 0.7 percent was seen for January. Distressed sales include short sales and REO transactions.
In response to this data, Capital Economics stated in a report that there is reason to believe the tide is turning.
""Over the past year, the visible inventory has dropped by 20 percent and, over the last six months, home sales have risen by 13 percent,"" said Capital Economics.
Even with the expectation that this downward trend is soon to change, Capital Economics does not expect significant house price gains.
""With the robosigning settlement likely to kick-start the foreclosure process and structural factors still constraining demand, it's more likely that over the next two years prices will remain broadly stable,"" the research firm said.
Lender Processing Servicers (LPS) also released an HPI report, but with a focus on December 2011.
Since December 2008, the LPS report states that prices have fallen more slowly at an average annual rate of 4.4 percent.
The LPS HPI national average home price for December 2011 reached a price level not seen since September 2002, and the decline marks the sixth consecutive month of price decreases.
Home prices averaged at $197,000 for December 2011, compared to $226,000 in December 2008, according to the LPS report. In the previous month of November, prices averaged at $199,000.
""Despite the broad picture of home price declines following the bubble, prices have not been consistently declining for all MSAs in the country. About one-fifth (89) of all the MSAs that LPS covers has seen average home prices increase since December 2008,"" said Raj Dosaj, VP of LPS Applied Analytics. ""Unfortunately, the MSAs that have seen price increases since December 2008 are generally relatively small; Boston and Pittsburgh are exceptions.""
Examples of MSAs that saw increases in average home prices since December 2008 were: Springfield, Massachusetts; Albany, New York; Brownsville, Texas; and Hot Springs, Arkansas, according to LPS data.
CoreLogic's report included state rankings based on appreciation values.
The five states with the highest appreciation including distressed sales were South Dakota (+5.7 percent), North Dakota (+4.0 percent), West Virginia (+4.0 percent), Montana (+3.6 percent), and Michigan (+3.0 percent).
The five states with the greatest depreciation including distressed sales were Illinois (-8.7 percent), Nevada (-8.0 percent), Delaware (-7.9 percent), Alabama (-7.7 percent), and Georgia (-7.5 percent).
The five states with the highest appreciation minus distressed sales were South Dakota (+6.4 percent), Montana (+5.9 percent), North Dakota (+3.8 percent), Alaska (+3.7 percent), and Indiana (+2.7 percent).
The five states with the greatest depreciation minus distressed sales were Nevada (-6.7 percent), Delaware (-5.5 percent), Minnesota (-4.1 percent), New Jersey (-3.5 percent), and Georgia (-3.3 percent).