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Double Dip: Altos Says Prices Have Been Steadily Rising Since Then

While a number of closely-watched home price indices show that national readings have slipped into a double-dip, ""Altos Research"":http://www.altosresearch.com says it's come and gone.


According to the ""S&P/Case-Shiller"":http://dsnews.comarticles/case-shiller-index-officially-double-dips-2011-05-31 index released earlier this week, national home prices dropped to a new recession low during the first quarter of this year as prices slipped another 4.2 percent.

Altos conducts its own analysis of price trends using active listing data to provide what the company says is more of a real-time view. The firm notes that the latest Case-Shiller findings are based on data only through the end of March. Since that time, Altos has recorded a steady uptick in prices for both major metros and mid-city markets across the country.

A separate study released this week by ""CoreLogic"":http://dsnews.comarticles/corelogic-home-price-index-shows-first-monthly-increase-since-mid-2010-2011-06-01 corroborates Altos' assertion that prices have risen since the double-dip timestamp. CoreLogic says based on April sales activity, just after the Case-Shiller double-dip, it has recorded an increase in home prices nationally of 0.7 percent.

About three weeks ahead of the Case-Shiller announcement of a new cycle low, ""Clear Capital"":http://dsnews.comarticles/home-prices-have-officially-double-dipped-clear-capital-2011-05-04 reported an official double-dip for its national home price gauge had hit, but in April rather than March.


Regardless of the disparities in the various home price indices, Altos says it expects to see a rising and falling pattern for several years. The firm's VP Scott Sambucci believes the double dip is ""really just the start of the next housing cycle.""

Altos has coined a colorful phrase to depict the ebb and flow of home prices â€" they call it the ""Catfish Recovery.""

Sambucci laid it out by describing the catfish as a bottom dweller that moves slowly, feeding off the lake or river floor for a while, then heads up to the surface and back down, bobbing up and down without a distinct pattern or clear direction.

Altos says markets should plan for prices over the long term to hit a bottom, rise a bit, sink back down, rise again.

Sambucci says constant growth for home values is a myth. Charting housing cycles all the way back to 1890, he notes that the sharpest run-up by far occurred at the turn of the millennium, and the market is now in payback mode. In every other historical boom, Sambucci says the run-ups, all of which have been significantly smaller that the most recent, have always been given back.

""The housing recovery will take a long time and it is going to happen slowly,"" Sambucci said.

In the short-term, Altos says the seasonal price bump for the spring is still evident in the firm's active market statistics and will likely show up in the Case-Shiller numbers in late summer and early fall.

Altos recorded a 0.93 percent increase in its national home price composite between April and May.

The company says May numbers showed an increase in median prices across the board. The big winners were San Francisco (+3.33%), Washington D.C. (+3.27%), and San Jose (+3.14%).

Only two of the 26 markets tracked by Altos saw prices decrease: New York (-2.85%) and Las Vegas (-0.76%).

About Author: Carrie Bay

Carrie Bay is a freelance writer for DS News and its sister publication MReport. She served as online editor for DSNews.com from 2008 through 2011. Prior to joining DS News and the Five Star organization, she managed public relations, marketing, and media relations initiatives for several B2B companies in the financial services, technology, and telecommunications industries. She also wrote for retail and nonprofit organizations upon graduating from Texas A&M University with degrees in journalism and English.

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