FNC index shows U.S. home prices fell in January

OXFORD — FNC’s latest Residential Price Index (RPI) indicates that U.S. residential property values declined in January, in spite of continued economic expansion and an improving job market in recent months.

The latest persistent downtrends are driven primarily by conditions in the distressed market, which remains overwhelmed by the disposal of foreclosed and REO properties. Down 0.6 percent from December, January marks the sixth consecutive month-to-month price decline. Property values nationwide have returned to January 2003 levels.

Based on the latest data on non-distressed home sales (existing and new homes) through January, FNC’s national RPI shows that single-family home prices fell in January to a seasonally unadjusted rate of 0.6 percent.

All three RPI composites (the National, 30-MSA, and 10-MSA indices) show similar month-to-month declines in January, down approximately half of a percentage point from December. The two broader indices indicate that the pace of month-to-month price declines has remained mostly unchanged in the last two months. The 10-MSA composite, however, shows signs of improvement since December, declining less rapidly at 0.5 percent in January compared to 1.1 percent in December.

The indices’ year-to-year trends indicate that the annual rate of price declines has stabilized in recent months. According to the national RPI, home prices nationwide declined at a seasonally adjusted rate of 3.6 percent from a year ago. The year-to-year declines at the nation’s top housing markets, as indicated by the 30- and 10-MSA composites, have also decelerated to their slowest pace since May 2010.

Among the individual markets tracked by the FNC 30-MSA composite index, 10 markets show a positive month-to-month change in January that averaged about 0.5 percent. Among them, the Charlotte market records the largest one-month price increase of 1.9 percent, followed by Atlanta at 1.0 percent. Moreover, Charlotte home prices in recent months are showing signs of extended recovery, rising month to month for three consecutive months since November – averaging 1.0 percent per month or nearly 3.0 percent from November to January. Home prices are also rising in the Tampa market in the last three months (2.8 percent between November and January). Home prices in another Florida market, Miami, also have increased in the last two months, rising 1.2 percent in December followed by 0.5 percent in January. Of the remaining 20 markets where home prices fell in January, Houston, Sacramento, San Francisco, Detroit, and Columbus are among those that show the largest one-month price declines.

On a seasonally adjusted year-to-year basis, Denver and San Antonio are seeing home prices rising above a year ago, up 2.3 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively. Although no longer declining in the double digits, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Sacramento, and Tampa continue to rank among the worst cities for existing homeowners whose property values are down 9.5 percent, 9.3 percent, 9.0 percent and 7.7 percent, respectively, from a year ago.

Peak to date, 16 of the component markets in the FNC 30-MSA composite index continue to record more than 30 percent declines in property values; in eight of them, homeowners have lost more than 50 percent of the peak market value. Leading the declines are Las Vegas (62.7 percent), Phoenix (59.7 percent), Riverside (59.4 percent), Sacramento (58.9 percent), Orlando (57.2 percent), and Miami (54.9 percent). Meanwhile, home prices in five cities including Atlanta, Cleveland, Detroit, Las Vegas, and Phoenix have fallen below their January 2000 levels, down 14.0 percent, 6.9 percent, 26.8 percent, 16.1 percent and 15.8 percent, respectively.

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