Whose Housing Market is This, Anyway? West Virginia’s, That’s Who

In April, many of the nation’s hardest-hit housing markets during the downturn saw prices depreciate at an ever-faster pace, according to the LoanPerformance Home Price Index released by First American CoreLogic on Wednesday. Over the past 12 months, two southern California metro areas — Riverside/San Bernardino/Ontario and Los Angeles/Long Beach/Glendale — posted the worst annual price drops, at -24.59 percent and -23.75 percent, respectively. The Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Florida area wasn’t far behind, with prices falling 22.87 percent from April 2007 to April 2008, First American CoreLogic said. Among top core-based statistical areas tracked by the real estate information service, Hawaii’s Honululu posted the best 12-month price performance, rising 7.15 percent; Austin-Round Rock, Texas posted a gain of 6.14 percent, as well. Among the 34 top CSBAs reported on for April, however, only six showed a positive 12-month pricing trend, underscoring just how widespread pricing pressure has become in many of the nation’s largest housing markets. But the hottest market right now? It’s not found in the beach-bound locales within states like California and Florida, the typical real-estate hot spots. Nope. Try someplace a little more rugged — like West Virginia. “Energy-rich sector states are experiencing the fastest price increases. West Virginia is leading the nation in home price appreciation, followed by Montana, Utah and Texas,” said Mark Fleming, chief economist for First American CoreLogic. “Home price declines accelerated in two-thirds of the states already experiencing price declines, while appreciation rates are decelerating in the handful of states with positive appreciation, particularly in Idaho, Utah and Hawaii.” All of which seems to suggest that, at least for the time being, it’s time to throw out any preconceived notions any of us may have about real estate. For more information, visit http://www.facorelogic.com.

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3d rendering of a row of luxury townhouses along a street

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