According to the real estate news site DQNews.com, the last six weeks of national home price data have all shown improvements over the prior year period. The series culminates in a robust climb of 12.6 percent over one year ago, as of January 24th. The median sale price over the previous 30 days was $199,000.
That follows improvements 8.7 percent, 8.9 percent, 10.3 percent, 10.6 percent and 11.7 percent for the previous weeks beginning on December 20th.
Furthermore, nationwide home prices are now exceeding their levels as of three years ago by 8.1 percent – which indicates a substantial recovery over the past year.
Likewise, the overall volume of sales has increased over the last year – by 9.2 percent, according to DQNews figures.
The weekly data series indicates that the volume gap over the 2009-2010 period is also closing quickly: Rolling 30-day sales data was 10.7 percent below the 2009 mark as of December 27, 2012. The gap narrowed to 7.8 percent on January 10, to 6.0 percent on January 17th, and then to just 1.8 percent for the latest series as of January 24th, 2015.
Overall, home prices have managed to eke out a respectable increase over the past several years, even as home sales have actually fallen in raw volume.
The highest median sales price recorded was in June 2006, at $275,000. The lowest was in January, 2009, with an average price of $168,000. The current $200,000 figure represents a 37.5 percent fall from the peak, but an increase of 16 percent over the cycle bottom.
A number of markets are also benefiting from a lower-than-expected number of foreclosure sales. The market has long been waiting for the proverbial other shoe to drop as banks release a potential tsunami of foreclosed properties on the market. But increasing house prices have allowed many distressed homeowners to refinance and avoid foreclosure, while ongoing litigation over the RoboSigning scandal and pressure from regulators to modify troubled mortgages and even write down outstanding balances rather than foreclose on homes.
As of January 13, 2013, the number of new foreclosure starts in California is at its lowest point since 2006, according to DQNews.
Interestingly it is not the more recent loans that are going into foreclosure. The majority of loans generating a Notice of Default in the 4thquarter of 2012 in California were issued during the freewheeling days of 2005-2006.
Housing inventories have also largely cleared: The number of previously-owned homes for sale is now close to an 11-year low. And because homebuilders have substantially reigned in their building over the last several years, the inventory of new houses for sale is at its lowest ebb in over five decades.
Of course, it’s all speculation unless rents are also rising to justify home price increases. But some indicators are, indeed, suggesting that a slowly-recovering economy has pushed rents up along with home prices – resulting in a much more sustainable bull market in housing than the bubble of the previous decade.
Kiplinger Magazine has put together data on where home price increases have been strongest.
- Phoenix leads the charge, with an increase of 28 percent over the past year.
- Provo, Utah is next, posting a 21 percent year-over-year increase.
- The Cape Coral/Fort Myers area of Florida is up 19.5 percent for the year.
- Minneapolis is up 16.8 percent.
- Akron and Youngstown, Ohio are up 16.8 percent and 16.1 percent as well.
- Seattle is up 15 percent.
These aren’t indexes, though – and no single property is closely tied to any index. Even in rising markets, any given property investment brings with it risk and uncertainty.