Realty Check

Where Exactly Are Home Prices Rising?


Amid the ever-growing number of real estate tracking reports, I've recently seen a few that claim home prices have hit bottom, and therefore the housing crash is not only over, but housing is now suddenly a cash cow again.

These reports infuriate me, because as much as I'd like to see healthy home price appreciation (yes, I own a home), it's just not true.

The fact is that home prices are still down and in some spots still falling more.

Month-to-month changes are inaccurate because they don't account for the seasonality in home buying preferences, and many of the more positive reports base their outlooks on month-month gains.

The turnaround taking place in housing right now is in sales, and that's excellent news, but most of those sales are on the lowest priced homes. A bright spot today, though, was that Toll Brothers, which offers homes on the higher end of the market, showed an increase in signed contracts for the first time in three years. But again, the bulk of the volume overall is on distressed homes (foreclosures and short sales), which made up 1/3 of all sales in the second quarter of this year, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Today the NAR released its quarterly home price report, and rather than harp on the continuing negatives, I went looking for the metro markets where prices, year-over-year, are actually increasing. Trust me, I don't choose to seem bearish, that's just what the data forces. There are some MSA's showing healthy price appreciation, so for all you investors out there, I thought I'd give you a list.

For all you who claim the housing meltdown is over, you might want to check out this list as well:

Questions?  Comments?