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Clear Capital: January home prices in positive territory, but unchanged

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Home prices nationwide advanced 0.9% in January over the previous rolling quarter, a positive sign during a typically difficult time of year for the housing industry, according to Clear Capital. The research firm also found that the rate of growth remained unchanged overall from December.

A rolling quarter is a comparison of the most recent four-month period to the previous three months.

Comparing this to last January, when quarterly declines reached 1.6%, it is evident the housing market is progressing, Clear Capital data suggests.

"Home price trends in January remained solid overall, considering we are in the middle of the toughest time of year for real estate," said Dr. 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."

Nationally, home prices in January rose 5.4% year-over-year, continuing the 2012 upward trajectory. The low-tier price segment, or homes selling for $102,000 and less, continued to be the main driving force in markets throughout the U.S.

Villacorta says what remains to be seen is whether home prices will continue to rise, or remain stable through the winter. "Regardless of what trends play out in the near term, we expect home prices to continue on a positive trajectory long term," said Villacorta.

It was the West that saw the most significant change, with home pricegrowth of 2.1% over the last rolling quarter. In fact, 11 of the 15 top performing metros are located in the Western region.

The South, Northeast and Midwest all saw very little quarterly price change. The South rose only 0.7%, the Northeast only saw a 0.6% advancement and the Midwest tailed behind with 0.2% quarterly growth.

Click on the map below to see the regional growth throughout the U.S. as recorded by Clear Capital.

Metro markets, however, yielded more surprising results. The January top 15 major metro list did not include any Florida markets, a state that had been topping most lists for the past several months.

"On a more micro level, Florida metros, namely Miami, Orlando, Tampa, and Jacksonville, were all missing from the top 15 performing market list. Since September 2011, at least one of these markets made the list," added Villacorta. "While this isn’t confirmation that the recovery is finished in the sunshine state, it’s certainly something to keep an eye on."

The top 15 major metros, on average, saw yearly gains of 13.4%, which is notably higher than the 5.4% national yearly growth.

Click on the image below to see the highest performing major metro markets reported by Clear Capital.

The major markets that struggled the most still held their ground in January, remaining unchanged in home prices over the rolling quarter.

Click on the image below to see the lowest performing major metro markets reported by Clear Capital.

"Overall, January’s home price trends confirm the housing market continues to hold up well in the midst of the toughest season of the year," Clear Capital concluded.

"Yet, Florida’s metros falling short of the top performing 15 markets for the first time since late 2011 offers caution that there could be shifts in the status quo to come, as buyers adjust to higher priced markets a year into recovery. Even so, solid yearly home price gains offer a cushion for minor setbacks or shifts over the near term."

mhopkins@housingwire.com

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