Too many home price indices muddle market data
The plethora of home price indices muddle the market data, and prices remain in decline in most parts of the country with faster depreciation in some metropolitan areas, according to one Toronto-based research firm. Analysts at Capital Economics rely on two closely watched home prices indices when making their market projections. "For anyone bamboozled by the abundance of house price indices, which can sometimes provide starkly different messages, we consider the Case-Shiller and CoreLogic indices to be the most useful and reliable," analysts at Capital Economics said. "As it stands now, most of the evidence suggests that house prices are still falling, and in some cases at an accelerating rate." Earlier this month, CoreLogic said home price rose less than 1% in May from the prior month, yet remain considerably lower than a year ago. May's slight increase was the first gain since the expiration of the federal homebuyer tax credit in the spring of 2010. The most-recent Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home price index showed prices fell to the lowest level in nine years during the first quarter. The index fell 4.2% in the first three months of 2011 after declining 3.6% in the fourth quarter. Analysts said the first-quarter index decreased 5.1% from a year earlier. Write to Jason Philyaw.