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U.S. Home Prices Continue Journey Upward in June: Clear Capital

Thanks to an increase in springtime sales and the lasting residual effects of the federal homebuyer tax credit, U.S. home prices continued to increase in June, the Truckee, California-based real estate valuation firm ""Clear Capital"":http://www.clearcapital.com/ reported Thursday.


According to Clear Capital's ""Home Data Index Market Report"":http://clearcapital.com/company/MarketReport.cfm?month=July&year=2010, June home prices came in 8.8 percent above levels experienced one year ago. And on a rolling quarter-over-quarter basis, home prices jumped 5.2 percent, bringing the nation back to within 1 percent of last fall's levels.

""Price trends nationwide have a seen a considerable upswing driven in large part by the flurry of recent sales attributed to the tax credit and springtime buying activity,"" said Dr. Alex Villacorta, senior statistician for Clear Capital. ""This month's national quarterly gains are certainly a positive sign that many markets have responded to the tax credit incentive, but overall markets remain volatile as evidenced by the six month price change keeping mostly flat.""

While there is still a lot of ground to be made up, Villacorta said the national 8.8 percent yearly gain in home prices is a strong lift off of the severe lows of last year, especially when it is taken into consideration that unemployment and REO saturation levels hit their highest point in more than two decades during this same time period.

Clear Capital noted that the overall REO Saturation rate fell to 24.6 percent in June, a decline of 3.2 percentage


points from the month prior. The company said it is likely that the effects of the tax credit have been amplified with the onset of the springtime buying season. And while some have questioned the timing of this credit with concern about the downstream affects on demand, it's evident that the tax credit did succeed â€" at least in the near term â€" in creating an environment more resilient to the ongoing foreclosure influences, Clear Capital said.

On a regional basis, all four areas posted both yearly and quarter-over-quarter gains in home prices. The Midwest continued to lead the nation with quarterly price gains of 9.2 percent, pushing year-over-year gains to 17.2 percent off the deep lows of last year, Clear Capital said.

The other three regions experienced price increases more consistent to the national quarter-over-quarter average of 5.2 percent and the year-over-year average of 8.8 percent. Home prices in the South jumped 4.9 percent on a rolling quarter-over-quarter basis and were up 6.2 percent from last year. The Northeast came in next, as home prices in June increased 4.1 percent quarter-over-quarter and were 5.3 percent higher than the same month in 2009. The West posted a mere 2.2 percent quarter-over-quarter gain, but on a year-over-year basis, home prices in this region were up 7.8 percent.

Despite strong quarterly gains, all four regions remained within two percent of the levels achieved last fall, revealing the price volatility that was experienced this past winter, Clear Capital said.

According to the report, the overall home price gains across the nation were aided largely by a quarterly jump in prices in the top 15 highest performing major metropolitan markets. Clear Capital said May's single-digit price gains signaled the onset of these conditions, and have been replaced with double-digit quarterly gains among the top 10 markets.

Villacorata noted, though, that while metro level markets are showing recent signs of healthy price growth, many of these markets are simply returning to their pre-winter levels. He said some of the hardest hit areas remain as much as 54 percent below their 2006 peaks.

About Author: Brittany Dunn


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