Housing Recovery Progresses Slowly During Winter

Despite the typically slow winter months, the housing market continued to see progress in home values through January, according to Clear Capital.

The Truckee, Calif.-based provider of real estate asset valuation said in its monthly home data index report that quarterly price trends remained flat throughout the nation, while yearly gains increased.

At the national level, home prices in January advanced 0.9% over the rolling quarter, unchanged over December’s rate of growth. However, even though values remained stagnant from last month, they are still in positive territory compared to quarterly declines of 1.6% during the same time period last year.

The greatest quarter-over-quarter improvements were made in the West, with 2.1% growth. Furthermore, 11 out of the top 15 performing metropolitans reside in the West, Clear Capital revealed.

Meanwhile, very little quarterly price change occurred in the South, Northeast and Midwest, which all rose 0.7%, 0.6% and 0.2%, respectively.

On a yearly basis, national home prices were up 5.4%. Clear Capital said the main driving force for this increase was due to low-tiered homes, typically REO properties, being sold for $102,000 and less.

Additionally, the national REO saturation rate in January remained at 18.4%, well below the peak of 41% almost four years ago, meaning that REO properties are “attractive” for investors and homebuyers to purchase.

“Home price trends in January remained solid overall, considering we are in the middle of the toughest time of year for real estate,” said Alex Villacorta, director of research and analytics at Clear Capital. “We saw quarterly trends continue to soften, while yearly gains strengthened, suggesting the budding recovery is not immune to the slower winter season.”

“What remains to be seen is if home prices will continue to rise, or remains table through the winter,” Villacorta continued. “Regardless of what trends play out in the near term, we expect home prices to continue on a positive trajectory long term.”