Home prices in April edged up 7.2% throughout the country, a stark contrast to the -1.40% drop a year ago, according to data from Clear Capital. However, Alex Villacorta, director of research and analytics at Clear Capital, warns market observers not t be fooled by the large headline numbers.
"Last year was a turning point for the market where the year started with prices at virtually their lowest point and saw a very strong correction through the year," said Villacorta. "Now, however, the market is stabilizing and the large yearly and even quarterly gains of 2012 are starting to subside, which is a good thing as markets return to more normal rates of growth."
He noted much of the gains being seen right now in the yearly trends are a reflection of the market lows in 2012, rather than a function of recent short-term momentum.
For the quarter, prices nationwide and regionally continued to stabilize at the close of April 2013, a good position for the start of the spring buying season, according to Clear Capital.
Quarterly, rates grew around 1%, demonstrating the market is on track to hit annual forecasted gains. Nationally, a 4% growth is in line with average historical rates of growth.
On a regional level, markets continue to correct at a rate commensurate with their stages in the housing recovery.
April proved a good month for Las Vegas, with yearly growth accelerating to 24.3%, second to only Phoenix. Phoenix saw a slight pull back in yearly gains to 25.8%, revealing more normal growth rates.
Birmingham, Detroit and Cleveland were the lowest performing markets, struggling with low price points and short-term trend volatility. These metros’ median price-per-square-foot is under $70, $40 under the national median price-point average.
Regardless of Villacorta’s warning he said Clear Capital is still confident in the sustainability of the recovery as the market continues to adjust to the new normal.
"Moderate improvements in the broader economic landscape likely haven’t offered potential homebuyers strong reason to jump back in at the start of the season," said Villacorts. "We do expect to see more buyers and sellers ready to take action over the next several months as rising prices continue to free up some underwater mortgages."
He added, "And while the national market waits for a spring boost in short-term gains, markets like Las Vegas offer a reminder that pockets of the housing market will continue to vastly outperform national and regional markets."