Radar Logic home price index down 2.7% for September
The housing market is weaker than some indices indicate, according to the latest monthly report from Radar Logic. The real estate and data analytics company said its RPX home price index for September showed a decline of 2.7% from August and a 1.9% drop from a year earlier. The index tracks sales in 25 metropolitan statistical areas across the country. Meanwhile, the most recent Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city composite home price index reported a decrease of 0.7% in September from the prior month with a 0.6% drop from a year ago. A few weeks ago, the Federal Housing Finance Agency said its third quarter, purchase-only home price index is 1.6% lower than the second quarter and 3.2% below a year earlier. The agency also said U.S. home prices are down 8.4% over the past five years. The market for sale of foreclosed homes outperformed other markets during September because buyers of these homes are less sensitive to seasonal factors than other buyers, according to Radar Logic. "As long as activity focuses on the massive inventory of distressed assets, we expect the outlook for housing values to be negative," according to Quinn Eddins, Radar Logic director of research. The company said "the state of the nation's housing markets looks even worse when one holds aside motivated sales." Radar Logic said its data suggests composite prices for the roughly 70% of September sales, excluding foreclosure sales, were off 2.8% from August and 3% lower than a year earlier. Radar Logic said sales of homes not in foreclosure are at the lowest level since the company began tracking the data in 2000. Total home sales fell 6.4% in September from the prior month and are nearly 20% lower than the year earlier. Analysts attributed the decline, in part, to seasonal factors. But higher sales levels of REO homes "is a lasting and not simply a seasonal trend, it could have a deleterious effect on the prices on all homes, not just those sold out of foreclosure." The company said the end of homebuyer tax credit earlier this year along with other government programs aimed at keeping people in their homes and the robo-signing fiasco "has exposed the underlying market imbalance and prices are decling as a result." "In hindsight, it appears that government interventions provided a slight and temporary boost to housing markets, but have not spurred a lasting and self-perpetuation recovery," Eddins said. Write to Jason Philyaw.