FNC: December Home Prices Up 0.4%

Sorohan, Mike msorohan@mba.org

February 17, 2016

FNC, Oxford, Miss., said its Residential Price Index showed U.S. home prices ended 2015 with a modest increase as homes sales, while residential construction continued to show solid growth.

Nationwide, FNC reported home prices rose at a seasonally unadjusted rate of 0.4 percent from November and by 6.2 percent from a year ago. On a quarterly basis, home prices rose by 0.2 percent in the fourth quarter.

FNC Director of Research Yanling Mayer said the robust pace of home sales and new housing starts enabled home prices to finish at a 15-month high, outpacing the same period over the past three years.

"Although stock market jitters from tumbling oil prices and concerns of the Chinese economy could overshadow the underlying strength of the U.S. economy, homebuyers will continue to benefit from record low interest rates, rising mortgage credit availability, and the growing strength of the job market," Mayer said. "Building on the ongoing momentum, 2016 is likely to continue to see solid price growth."

FNC said the proportion of final sales for foreclosed and REO properties comprised 10.9 percent of all total existing homes sales, down from 12.5 percent a year ago. Sales of foreclosed homes fell to the lowest level since December 2007. In the for-sale market, the fourth quarter did not follow an expected seasonal uptrend in the asking price discounts. As of January, the medium discount was 4.0 percent, which barely moved since October.

December home prices were up in two-thirds of the markets tracked by the FNC 30-MSA composite index. On month-over-month basis, December's top up-markets: Baltimore (2.6%); St. Louis (2.6%); Las Vegas (2.1%); Portland, Ore. (2.0%); and Houston (1.7%).

FNC said in Florida, home prices continued to make steady gains despite a relatively large number of foreclosure sales. The Midwest remains the nation's weak housing spot, where home prices retreated widely in recent months and continue to be restrained by foreclosed sales and large price markdowns in the for-sale market. The year-over-year growth in the region's six largest MSAs (except Cincinnati) underperforms the national average, some significantly so.

FNC said as of December, cities experiencing the largest year over year price appreciation: Portland (14.2%); Denver (13.0%); San Francisco (12.6%); Las Vegas (11.9%); Miami (11.5%); Sacramento (11.5%); Phoenix (11.2%); Cincinnati (10.1%).

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