In case you haven’t been following along closely, the March 3rd release of CoreLogic’s Home Price Index (corelogic.com) indicated that nationwide home prices increased 5.7 percent during January compared to the same period last year; and there was a 1.1 percent increase during January compared to December.
And believe it or not, CoreLogic stated that nationwide home prices including distressed sales are only 12.7 percent below the peak; and only 8.6 percent below peak if you exclude distressed sales.
Of course, national home price data are an average of regions that vary economically, reflected in their respective housing market. CoreLogic Chief Economist Dr. Frank Nothaft stated, “House price appreciation has generally been stronger in the western half of the nation and weakest in the mid-Atlantic and northeast states…In part, these trends reflect the strength of regional economies. Colorado and Texas have had stronger job creation and have seen 8 to 9 percent price gains over the past 12 months in our combined indexes. In contrast, values were flat or down in Connecticut, Delaware and Maryland in our overall index, including distressed sales.” The only 2 states that realized negative price appreciation year over year (including distressed sales) during January were Maryland and Connecticut, where home prices appreciated (–0.3 percent) and (-0.6 percent) respectively.
If you include distressed sales, Maryland’s January home prices appreciated (–0.3 percent) year over year, (-0.1 percent) month over month, and is (-25.3 percent) from the peak. Regional differences, of course, exist: DC home prices including distressed sales appreciated 3.3. percent year over year, (-0.4 percent) month over month, and is only (-1.4 percent) from the peak; Virginia home prices appreciated 1.4 percent year over year, (-0.2 percent) month over month, and is (-15.6 percent) from the peak.
The CoreLogic HPI Forecast projects nationwide home prices, including distressed sales, to appreciate 0.4 percent from January to February, with an annual appreciation of 5.3 percent.
CoreLogic expects consistent home price appreciation through 2015 and into 2016, due in part to a current shortage in housing inventory. Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic, stated that “Many homeowners have taken advantage of low rates to refinance their homes, and until we see sustained increases in income levels and employment they could be hunkered down so supplies may remain tight. Demand has picked up as low mortgage rates and the cut in the FHA annual insurance premium reduce monthly payments for prospective homebuyers.”
According to the Greater Capital Area Association of Realtors® (gcaar.com) January Montgomery County single family home statistics, home inventory and home buyer activity increased compared to last January. Although total housing inventory increased 26.5 percent year over year, contracts (pending sales) increased 16.6 percent, and settlements (sales) increased 4.8 percent.
If you’re wondering how these statistics might affect your sale, you’re not alone; many home sellers are trying to shape a sensible marketing plan this spring, which includes deciding on a listing price. Consider that although listing inventory is currently relatively low, it is likely to spike within the next two months adding competition to a market competing for discerning home buyers.
Typical home buyers have been increasingly demanding value; besides looking for a “turnkey” (updated and ready to move in) home, they have also been sensitive to home prices. Since cash buyers are not as prevalent as they were two years ago, and many buyers are concerned about their monthly obligations and budgets; pricing your home correctly will be more important this year than it has in the past.
Dan Krell is a Realtor® with RE/MAX All Pro in Rockville, MD. You can access more information at www.DanKrell.com.