House Prices Slip 1% in March

House prices across the US in March fell an average 1% from February and are down 13.9% from the same time last year, according to a monthly report released moments ago by Integrated Asset Services (IAS). The report, which rolls house price data from thousands of ‘neighborhoods’ into counties for a detailed local view, indicates a slowing of the decline over the last several months. Prices on a national level slipped 3% in February on top of the 3.5% plunge in January. “There was at least some leveling off in house prices for March, but it’s too soon to call it a rebound in the housing market,” company CEO Dave McCarthy writes in the report. “We’ll keep looking at prices at the county level to see if there’s any cumulative light emerging at the end of the tunnel.” Prices slipped 2.5% for the month in the Midwest region, which reported the highest number of unemployment claims — 81,957 — for the same period, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. House prices also slipped 1.3% in the South, 0.8% in the West and remained virtually unchanged in the Northeast, which also reported the smallest number of initial jobless claims, the report notes. McCarthy linked the geographic spread of home price decline to  the rising levels of unemployment claims, which might indicate joblessness, inability to pay, default and foreclosure (which historically brings 20% less than non-foreclosure sales). Write to Diana Golobay.

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