Home Prices Climb in Unseasonable Winter

It has been an unseasonably hot winter in housing as home prices hike higher, according to Clear Capital’s recently released Home Data Index (HDI) report, showing national quarterly home price growth at 0.9 percent.Home Prices Climb in Unseasonable Winter

Regional quarterly price growth, per the report, was mixed: 0.7 percent in the Northeast, an increase; 0.8 percent in the Midwest, a decrease; and 1.0 percent in the South and West, unchanged. Home prices in 16 of the top 50 largest metropolitan areas—which contain one-third of the nation’s housing stock—have moved past bubble-era peaks. The result, according to Clear Capital Vice President of Research and Analytics Alex Villacorta, is a majority-shift toward positive equity.

“Following several rounds of healthy, peak-season summer growth, winter gains thus far this season have remained relatively healthy across much of the country,” says Villacorta. “As prices have continued to climb in the long term during the post-housing crash, the large portion of the housing market that has been frozen in negative equity has shrunk significantly—meaning that an increasingly large portion of previously underwater homeowners may now have the option of entering the market.”

The market in Portland, Ore., which saw the highest home price growth in the nation in 2016, continues to rank at the top of metropolitan areas measured in the report, growing 2 percent quarter-over-quarter. Another booming market, however—San Jose, Calif.—saw negative quarterly price growth, down 0.3 percent. Hartford, Conn., saw identical negative growth.

Forty percent of homeowners who bought a house during the bubble will regain equity by the end of this year, according to the report, provided prices mirror 2016 movement.

“While the expected spring housing boost is still ahead of us, an influx of fresh new demand on the market could further boost growth potential later this year—as long as there are no other shocks to the market,” Villacorta says.

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