Real Time Home Price Index Shows Housing Price Strength

Editor’s Note: This article was guest authored by Scott Sambucci, the Vice President, Market Analytics at Altos Research – a Silicon Valley-based company that provides real-time real estate market analytics.  The following is from Altos Research’s May 2011 report.

The spring thaw is upon us! A seasonal uptick in both median prices and inventory has appeared in most metropolitan areas across the country. Price increases are apparent in 24 of the 26 tracked markets, and inventory increases are apparent in 23 of the 26 tracked markets.

Despite this month’s headlines reporting Q1’s home price lows, the Altos Research real-time data shows near-term price strength.

The week-over-week median prices have been increasing for a few months now, and the 90-day rolling average is now reflecting the same trend. Indices like the S&P/Case-Shiller will report this shift when it appears in their transaction data later this summer.

The historical view tells us a seasonal increase in activity is expected at this time of year. Regardless of what’s happening in the economy as a whole, we see a seasonal spike in both median prices and inventory when the country starts to thaw from the winter months. The Altos Research 20-City Composite trends are displayed in the chart below

Of the 26 markets covered in the report, here are the notable real estate market trends for April:

  • The Altos national index median price was $440,194 in April, up 1.82% from $432,307 in March.
  • Austin, Boston, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington D.C. all showed double-digit inventory increases.
  • Boston posted the biggest inventory increase at 19.18%.
  • The leaders in the price increase category were in “Sunshine States” – San Francisco (4.87%), San Jose (4.32%), Phoenix (3.30%), Denver (3.23%), and DC (3.04%).
  • The 7-day and 90-day averages are both trending upwards for median prices and inventory. The 7-day trends are always the first indication of a shifting market and should be watched closely.
  • Prices were flat in New York, Philadelphia, Portland, Salt Lake City, Seattle, and Tampa.
  • Las Vegas and New York were the only markets showing a decrease in inventory, and the decreases were modest (-1.05% and -0.26%, respectively).

Trends: April Home Prices

The housing market in April showed a modest increase in home prices (1.82%). The winner for the biggest price increase is the San Francisco Bay Area. San Francisco posted a 4.87% increase, and San Jose posted a 4.32% increase month-over-month. It’s not uncommon for home prices in California markets to react with more volatility than the national average, due to chronic shortage conditions.

The biggest decrease in home prices was posted in Las Vegas, and it was a small decrease at -1.05%. Only two markets in the index showed a decrease in prices (Las Vegas and New York). Compared to the big price drops over the past six months, this is welcome news for sellers.

Altos Research Price Composite

MSA February ’11 March ’11 April’11 % Change MoM % Change 3 months
National Composite $433,573 $432,307 $440,194 1.82% 1.53%
Atlanta $184,355 $182,276 $184,390 1.16% 0.02%
Austin $267,951 $268,542 $274,754 2.31% 2.54%
Boston $443,250 $446,827 $455,199 1.87% 2.70%
Charlotte $209,701 $209,975 $212,984 1.43% 1.57%
Chicago $278,112 $277,234 $280,034 1.01% 0.69%
Cleveland $154,200 $154,022 $155,878 1.20% 1.09%
Dallas $205,681 $205,967 $211,721 2.79% 2.94%
Denver $303,514 $305,810 $315,674 3.23% 4.01%
Detroit $125,143 $124,152 $125,822 1.35% 0.54%
Houston $208,800 $209,924 $213,676 1.79% 2.34%
Indianapolis $154,636 $155,159 $158,482 2.14% 2.49%
Las Vegas $144,685 $143,189 $141,682 -1.05% -2.08%
Los Angeles $581,805 $579,009 $586,835 1.35% 0.86%
Miami $410,476 $413,322 $421,714 2.03% 2.74%
Minneapolis $237,745 $237,630 $241,596 1.67% 1.62%
New York $566,616 $564,760 $563,288 -0.26% -0.59%
Philadelphia $307,567 $306,884 $307,467 0.19% -0.03%
Phoenix $215,518 $217,768 $224,949 3.30% 4.38%
Portland $282,434 $281,477 $282,890 0.50% 0.16%
Salt Lake City $289,578 $288,967 $290,967 0.69% 0.48%
San Diego $584,979 $579,000 $588,135 1.58% 0.54%
San $594,805 $598,029 $627,132 4.87% 5.43%
San Jose $648,839 $656,221 $684,579 4.32% 5.51%
Seattle $334,190 $331,838 $333,127 0.39% -0.32%
Tampa $176,127 $174,843 $175,015 0.10% -0.63%
Washington $423,518 $422,948 $435,795 3.04% 2.90%

Trends: Housing Supply

The housing market in April showed a substantial increase in inventory (11.45%). The top five markets for monthly inventory increases are Boston (19.18%), San Francisco (12.06%), Austin (11.46%), Washington DC (11.00%), and Philadelphia (10.29%). Notably, two of those markets rank in the top five for increases in median prices as well (San Francisco and Washington DC).

Sellers are entering the market at lightning speed to take advantage of the spring buying activity. The only markets showing a decrease in inventory were Phoenix (-7.40%), Miami (-5.55%), and Salt Lake City (a nominal -0.02%).

MSA February ’11 March ’11 April ’11 % Change MoM % Change 3 months
National Composite 264,938 272,805 304,045 11.45% 14.76%
Atlanta 35,636 35,852 36,578 2.02% 2.64%
Austin 9,137 9,650 10,756 11.46% 17.72%
Boston 12,585 14,597 17,397 19.18% 38.24%
Charlotte 13,322 13,794 14,294 3.62% 7.30%
Chicago 50,490 52,279 54,119 3.52% 7.19%
Cleveland 12,636 12,943 13,847 6.98% 9.58%
Dallas 32,058 32,995 34,090 3.32% 6.34%
Denver 13,590 13,900 14,072 1.24% 3.55%
Detroit 24,024 23,056 23,254 0.86% -3.21%
Houston 33,170 33,447 35,715 6.78% 7.67%
Indianapolis 12,218 12,512 13,215 5.62% 8.16%
Las Vegas 22,261 22,383 22,577 0.87% 1.42%
Los Angeles 36,556 36,504 38,748 6.15% 6.00%
Miami 28,895 28,428 26,851 -5.55% -7.07%
Minneapolis 15,399 15,390 16,572 7.68% 7.62%
New York 63,111 66,591 73,055 9.71% 15.76%
Philadelphia 23,607 25,421 28,037 10.29% 18.77%
Phoenix 30,122 27,816 25,757 -7.40% -14.49%
Portland 12,502 12,142 12,500 2.95% -0.02%
Salt Lake City 5,873 5,827 5,826 -0.02% -0.80%
San Diego 10,039 10,400 10,664 2.54% 6.23%
San Francisco 8,901 9,020 10,108 12.06% 13.56%
San Jose 4,433 4,475 4,822 7.75% 8.78%
Seattle 19,330 19,341 20,455 5.76% 5.82%
Tampa 20,459 20,668 21,425 3.66% 4.72%
Washington DC 17,731 18,443 20,471 11.00% 15.45%

Methodology

The Altos Research Real-Time Housing Report gives you unfettered, up- to-the-minute data relative to housing market conditions in major markets around the nation. The Altos report is comprised of data that can be used now, not aging, months-old statistics that mean nothing in a market that’s in a constant state of flux. Altos Research uses metrics associated with active residential property listings to give you real-time information. We give you the market as it is, not as it was.

Each “market” measured is equivalent to the Census Bureau’s Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) dominated by the city listed. Properties analyzed in the data include repeat sales of single-family homes, but not condominiums, town homes, or new construction homes. The Altos Research Price Index is a statistical compilation of property prices highly correlated with the S&P/Case-Shiller Index.

The Altos 20-City Composite is based on single family homes in Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Tampa, and Washington DC.

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