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LPS: California, Washington Lead Monthly Price Gains in February

After tracking transactions in February, ""Lender Process Services, Inc."":http://www.lpsvcs.com/Pages/default.aspx (LPS) found home prices rose 1 percent month-over-month, with California and Washington leading the gains.

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In dollar terms, LPS' Home Price Index (HPI) for non-distressed sales stood at $210,000, up 7.3 percent from February 2012 when prices averaged $196,000. Currently, prices are 20.6 percent below the June 2006 peak of $265,000.

LPS data also showed short sales, which accounted for 12 percent of February sales, were sold at a 25 percent discount compared to non-distressed sales. Meanwhile, REOs accounted for 10.5 percent of sales and were discounted by 27 percent compared to non-distressed properties.

On a statewide level, LPS reported California and Washington both saw prices increase 2.2 percent from January to February, the largest gain out of any other state.

Nevada and Hawaii took the next two spots after prices were up by 1.8 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively, while Illinois and Nebraska both posted a 1.4 percent increase.

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On the other hand, Connecticut experienced a monthly decrease after prices fell by 0.3 percent. Other states in the bottom were Vermont (+0.2 percent), Rhode Island (+0.2 percent), and Oklahoma (+0.3 percent). Six states saw prices rise by just 0.4 percent: New Mexico, Maryland, North Carolina, Tennessee, New Jersey, and Massachusetts.

LPS also provided short sale and REO data for larger states. New York offered the biggest short sale discount, 35 percent, while in Texas averaged 19 percent. Short sale discounts in California and Florida were 23 percent and 28 percent, respectively.

REO discounts in New York were also well-above the national average at 39 percent. In Nevada, REO discounts were only 10 percent below the price of non-distressed properties, while in California, bank-owned properties sold at a 17 percent discount.

California cities dominated the top 10 list for metro area price gains, with 9 out of ten metros representing the state. Seattle, where prices rose 2.5 percent, was the one exception and ranked No. 4. California cities in the top five were San Jose (+3.2 percent) San Francisco (+2.8 percent), Vallejo (+2.6 percent), and Sacramento (+2.4 percent).

Price decreases were also concentrated. According to LPS data, five out of the six states where prices fell month-over-month were in Connecticut. In Hartford, prices were down by 0.4 percent from January, while Norwich, New Haven, Bridgeport, and Torrington all saw prices depreciate by 0.2 percent. Palm Bay, Florida was the exception, where prices fell 0.1 percent.

About Author: Esther Cho

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