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Clear Capital: Seasonal Price Gains Haven’t Changed Housing Picture

A study released by ""Clear Capital"":http://www.clearcapital.com Thursday reveals home prices continue to correct from winter's extended declines, edging up thanks to the seasonal increase in sales activity that comes with warmer weather.
[IMAGE] The California-based valuation company says its gauge of U.S. home prices increased 4.1 percent when comparing the most recent rolling quarter to the previous one.

_[Note: Clear Capital's patent-pending rolling quarter intervals compare the most recent four months of home pricing data to the previous three month.]_

But even recent gains off the record low experienced earlier this year have not been enough to change the broader housing picture, Clear Capital says. Its latest reading of national home prices shows a decline of 7.9 percent since June 2010.

Only a handful of Northeast markets bucked the trend of year-over-year price declines, with the broader New York City area, Rochester, Pittsburgh, and Washington, D.C. posting positive year-over-year price growth, according to Clear Capital’s report.


All four U.S. regions posted quarterly gains without any tax credit stimulus for the first time since 2006. In the Midwest the rolling quarter gain was 6.3 percent. The Northeast saw a 5.2 percent increase. In the South prices were up 4.2 percent, and in the West 0.7 percent.

Although the short-term price gains may seem encouraging, Clear Capital says many markets are still near, or at record lows as REOs remain a significant proportion of overall sales activity.

Distressed sales have only served to intensify the market slump. According to Clear Capital, while the level of REO saturation has leveled off somewhat in recent months, more than one-in-four home sales across the country remain distressed.

The national REO saturation rate â€" the share of REO homes sold as a proportion of total sales â€" now sits at 28 percent, according to Clear Capital’s assessment. That’s down 5.7 percentage points from last quarter.

Still, Clear Capital says the negative correlation between the level of distressed sale activity and home prices has been consistent in nearly every market around the country.

As the REO saturation rate increases, the overall market value is weighed down by REO sales used as comparables, and fair market sellers â€" those marketing non-distressed properties â€" are forced to actively compete with homes that have significant discounts, Clear Capital explained.

“Economic fundamentals have been re-defined in this post-crash marketplace to not only include the traditional measures such as employment and consumer confidence, but also the inescapable presence of distressed activity,” the company said in its report.

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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