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With the year half over, the first two June national price reports suggest that America could be headed for the biggest annual price increases since the boom years-or not. On a national basis, moderate increases in inventories have had no impact yet on prices.

June Price Reports Raise 2013 Forecasts

With the year half over, the first two June national price reports suggest that America could be headed for the biggest annual price increases since the boom years-or not. On a national basis, moderate increases in inventories have had no impact yet on prices.

Clear Capital yesterday raised its price forecast for the year from 2.6 percent growth projected in April 2013 to 6.0 percent due to increasing home price gains across much of the nation in June, continuous improvements in distressed market measures and improvements in broad-based economic inputs, such as consumer confidence.

The forecast through June 2013 reveals trends that highlight the overall recovery’s strength and potential for sustainability. Nationally, home prices continue to benefit from the more active spring buying season. Quarterly, yearly and two quarter forecasts all came in stronger at 1.4 percent, 8.6 percent, and 1.7 percent respectively, relative to months past.

Should 2013 forecasts be realized, the housing market would outperform historical average gains between 4.0 percent and 5.0 percent, but indicate moderation from the current yearly gains of 8.6 percent, Clear Capital said.

Trulia today reported that asking home prices rose to 10.7 percent year-over-year in June. Excluding foreclosures, prices jumped 11.4 percent year over year, signaling that the current rise in asking prices is not primarily driven by the shift away from foreclosure to non-distressed homes for sale. However, Trulia said it expects the rate of increase in asking prices will eventually slow down as mortgage rates rise, inventory expands, and investor demand falls.

“June home price trends and forecasts were nearly all positive across the country”, said Dr. Alex Villacorta, vice president of research and analytics at Clear Capital. “We saw quarterly, yearly and six month forecasts all tick up, relative to the past few months’ performance. These improved trends signal spring buying activity continues to have a positive impact, while our forecasts point to moderation ahead. Certainly this is an interesting and important dynamic unfolding and while it could seem contradictory at the surface, perspective lends clarity. Increasing gains are great news for homeowners and to be expected at this time of the year, when home buyers are typically most active. While there is a lot of buzz right now in terms of double digit housing gains, over the long run, we don’t expect to see the current rates of growth sustained. Keep in mind this is really not a bad thing. National growth for all of 2013 is expected to hit 6.0 percent, lower than current yearly growth of 8.6 percent, yet higher than historical norms between 4.0 percent and 5.0 percent. After more than a full year of recovery, we consider the current momentum and expected moderation a really healthy move toward a more sustained recovery.

“At the metro level, we saw some subtle, yet notable trends unfold in June. While price trends continued to diverge at the micro market level, they are for the most part positive. Our forecasts highlight expected price gains across the country over the rest of 2013. This is a really important piece to the recovery puzzle right now. The fact that 45 out of 50 major metro markets are expected to see price gains over the next six months speaks to this move toward a more balanced, broad-based recovery, another really healthy sign. It’s great that six metros have seen more than 20.0 percent growth over the last year, but on their own these few markets can’t support a long-term national recovery. Seeing the bulk of major metros move into positive territory is truly good news, even if their gains are still in the single digits.”

Not everyone agrees the balance of the year will be positive for prices.

“The last week of June is the seasonal peak of the US Real Estate market. After June 30, both supply and demand start declining through the end of the year. The time to sell a home (as measured in Days on Market DOM) starts climbing. Prices decline alongside, until the January 7 trough and the seasonal reset for 2014.

“Right now we’re at the hottest moment of the hottest market we’ve had in years. Homes are selling faster than they have in years. This is true across the country and across price points. In the coming months, the headlines will be strong for prices. It’ll sound bullish. The housing bears will focus on stats like Days on Market, which will climb for the next six months. Keep an eye on how fast DOM climbs and where our peak looks before January. That’ll give you an idea of how sustainable this recovery has remained into 2014,” advises Mike Snowden of Altos Research.

Other experts have recently increased their price forecasts for the year based on April and May market data. Bank of America Merrill Lynch raised its forecast for annual price increase last week to 11.8 percent from a previous estimate of 8 percent. Ivy Zelman of Zelman & Associates recently said she is expecting prices to rise by 7 percent this year, up from her initial forecast of 3 percent. Last month J.P. Morgan Chase raised its forecast from 3.9 percent to 7 percent this year. The National Association of Realtors estimates the median existing home sale price will be 8 percent higher than last year.

Here are Trulia’s numbers:

June 2013 Trulia Price Monitor Summary

percent change in # of 100 largest percent change in asking
asking prices metros with asking- prices, excluding
price increases foreclosures
Month-over-month, 1.5 percent Not reported 1.5 percent
seasonally adjusted
Quarter-over-quarter, 4.1 percent 98 4.5 percent
seasonally adjusted
Year-over-year 10.7 percent 99* 11.4 percent
* Only Philadelphia saw a year-over-year decline, and only slightly, at -0.01 percent.

Highlights from Trulia’s June report:

  • Regionally, home price gains saw moderate growth in the short-term, long-term and forecast. The West, South, Midwest and Northeast are forecasted to see total 2013 gains of 10.1 percent, 5.2 percent, 4.6 percent and 4.1 percent, respectively. These gains are comprised of year-to-date growth and two quarter forecasts of 2.2 percent, 1.5 percent, 1.8 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively. Moderation is key to a sustained recovery. With this in mind, projected regional growth rates are healthy compared to year-over-year gains through June of 17.1 percent, 7.1 percent, 6.2 percent and 4.3 percent, respectively.
  • While metro level market trends showed continued variability, they remained positive overall. Local market economic fundamentals continue to drive varying degrees of price growth. 45 out of the top 50 major metro markets are forecasted to see yearly growth over the final two quarters of 2013. Four of the five markets not expected to see home price gains over the next two quarters are projected to see declines of less than 0.5 percent.
  • Las Vegas held its lead in June with yearly gains of 29.3 percent. The metro is one of six others to have realized more than 20.0 percent in yearly growth. Considering the two quarter forecast for Las Vegas of 5.0 percent, the metro will likely end the year as the recovery front runner with total 2013 gains of 19.4 percent.
  • Bakersfield, CA’s two quarter forecast of 5.2 percent puts this metro in the lead for short term anticipated gains out of the top 50 metros. Bakersfield moved from 29 in March’s Forecast to the first position in June. This leap is an example of the fundamentals driving the overall recovery. Bakersfield shares many characteristics of a First In First Out Recovery and serves as a reminder that the recovery continues to unfold market by market. This market was hard hit in the downturn and now offers an attractive opportunity for homebuyers. From the peak, prices are currently down 54.3 percent, substantially more than the national losses of 34.2 percent. Additionally, REO saturation remains relatively high, but on the decline at 21.3 percent. And overall median prices are relatively low at $160,000.
  • Cleveland is expected to continue to struggle with home price declines of 2.2 percent over the next two quarters. The metro has yet to see the positive fundamental shift in its distressed sale environment that other markets have seen prior to recovery. The rate of REO saturation has been on the rise, up nearly seven points over the last three quarters to a current rate of 36.7 percent. Until this market sees REO saturation subside, it’s unlikely to see prices rise.

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