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Quarterly Home Prices Fall, Overall Outlook “Encouraging”

While U.S. home prices fell 1.6% marking a quarter-over-quarter decline in January, the general outlook for home prices remains very encouraging according to Truckee, Calif.-based Clear Capital’s monthly Home Data Index (HDI) Market Report. The index provides data and analysis comparing the performance of local markets versus the national trend in home prices.

Thirteen of the highest performing markets saw a quarterly increase in home prices, including Cleveland, Dayton, Ohio, Chicago and Houston.

Clear Capital has reported a general uptick in home prices in 2011, with its most recent HDI report showing a slowing decline in home prices in the first weeks of 2011. The price changes of the nine markets that experienced improved quarterly results over last month continue to flatten with the average quarterly decline at less than 6% through January 2011, compared with a decline of 8.3% last month.

Of the markets still suffering growing declines only Detroit; Fresno, Calif; Las Vegas; Raleigh, N.C.; San Francisco; and Tampa, Fla. experienced larger quarterly price declines over last month. Detroit, in particular, still experiencing high levels of distressed housing activity and double-digit unemployment, saw a -12.4% quarterly price change, which is up 2.7 percentage points from the end of December.

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Clear Capital Senior Statistician Dr. Alex Villacorta called the recent national upward trend “encouraging,” but said it is too early to determine whether the early 2011 uptick signals a sustained recovery or a more temporary reprieve. His outlook, however was positive.

“This uptick is the first non-incentivized change in prices we’ve seen since the downturn began, and could provide great opportunity for buyers, sellers and investors alike. Although many markets still remain under significant downward pressure in light of increased distressed sale activities, it is clear that the severity of the downturns observed in October and November have subsided,” said Villacorta.

Written by Elizabeth Ecker

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