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FNC index: Home prices rose again in April

OXFORD — The latest FNC Residential Price Index (RPI) shows that U.S. home prices continued to rise in April, up 0.7 percent from the previous month.

April’s gain marks the largest price acceleration since June 2012, caused in part by rising seasonal demand entering spring and summer.

Improved credit availability, low interest rates, and low home prices continue to drive the housing recovery. Signs of rising mortgage rates — which have been hovering at historical lows in the last 10 months — have likely drawn out additional pent-up demand. Foreclosure activities continue to drop, with distressed sales contributing only 16.0 percent to total home sales, down from 17.8 percent in March and 21.6 percent a year ago. The median sales-to-list price ratio in April was 95.5, up from 93.7 in January and 92.5 a year ago.

Based on recorded sales of non-distressed properties (existing and new homes) in the 100 largest metropolitan areas, the FNC 100-MSA composite index shows that April home prices rose much faster than in the previous months. The two narrower indices (30-MSA and 10-MSA composites) similarly recoded a nearly 1.0 percent increase.On a year-over-year basis, home prices were up 4.6 percent from a year ago. The indices have been revised downward for the prior months, resulting in more moderate annual price accelerations.

Twenty-five of the component markets tracked by the FNC 30-MSA composite index show higher prices in April, and home prices were up by 1.0 percent or more in nearly a third of the markets, led by Phoenix at 2.0 percent, which has seen a nearly 30 percent price jump in the last 12 months or an average of 2.2 percent per month. Houston, Columbus, Cleveland and San Antonio show small price declines during the month.

Year over year, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Sacramento, and San Francisco show the largest price increase at 29.1 percent, 15.8 percent, 11.6 percent and 11.0 percent, respectively. Lagging behind the national trends are Baltimore, San Antonio, Columbus, and Chicago where home prices in the last 12 months remain relatively flat. Chicago continues to track only second to Detroit in foreclosure sales, with nearly one-in-three homes sold during April being foreclosure sales.

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