U.S. Home Prices Post Gains

17 12 2009

U.S. home prices rose 1.4 percent for the quarter ending Nov. 27, 2009, according to Clear Capital, a real estate asset valuation firm. All four regions of the country posted modest gains — 2.3 percent in the Midwest, 1.5 percent in the West, 1.0 percent in the South and 0.9 percent in the Northeast.

Detroit and Cleveland led the country with the highest quarterly home price gains at 14.1 percent and 12.8 percent, respectively. Meanwhile, home price increases of 13.4 percent over the past two rolling quarters in Atlanta indicate that prices may have bottomed out in that metro area.

U.S. Home Values Stabilizing

17 12 2009

U.S. home values remained unchanged in October from the previous month, and they were 5.7 percent lower than a year ago, reports Zillow, the Web-based home listing and valuation service. That marks the lowest level of annual depreciation since December 2007.

The Zillow Home Value Index was $190,600 at the end of October, down 20.4 percent from its peak value of $239,500 in June 2006. Seven out of 10 U.S. homes have lost value since October 2008, and 27 percent of the homes sold in October sold for a loss relative to their purchase price. Overall, U.S. homes lost $489 billion in value during the first 11 months of this year, significantly less than the $3.6 trillion lost during 2008, according to the recent Zillow Real Estate Market Reports.

Las Vegas, Detroit, Riverside, Calif., Phoenix and Miami suffered the most depreciation in October, while Boston, Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco posted the largest monthly gains.

U.S. Housing Permits Climb 8.9% to Highest Level in a Year

17 12 2009

Builders in November broke ground on more U.S. homes, a sign the recovery in homebuilding may carry through into 2010.

The report on housing starts showed building permits increased to a 584,000 pace, the highest level since November 2008, from 551,000 the prior month, said the Commerce Department today in Washington. Permits were forecast to rise to 570,000.

Construction of single-family houses, which accounted for 84 percent of the industry last month, increased 2.1 percent to a 482,000 rate.

Work on multifamily homes, such as townhouses and apartment buildings, jumped 67 percent to an annual rate of 92,000.

All four regions showed a gain in starts in November, led by a 16 percent increase in the Northeast. Work began on 12 percent more homes in the South, 3 percent in the Midwest and 1.9 percent in the West.

Government tax credits, lower home prices and borrowing costs near record lows may boost sales and construction in coming months. Federal Reserve policy makers today are forecast to reiterate a pledge to keep rates low for “an extended period” to sustain the recovery and lower a jobless rate that economists project will average 10 percent in 2010.

Source: Bloomberg

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