U.S. Housing Prices Turn Positive in April


June 9, 2010

Integrated Asset Services®, LLC (IAS®), a leader in default management and residential collateral valuations, has released the latest IAS360® House Price Index (HPI). Based upon the timeliest and most granular data available in the industry, the benchmark for national house prices gained 0.9% in April.

Three of the four U.S. census regions registered respectable gains for the month, with the Midwest adding 1.9%, the South, primarily on strength along its central corridor, 1.8%, and the West 1.1%. Only the Northeast, with a 0.7% decline—the region’s eighth in a row—lost ground for the month. Boston and New York, the Northeast’s leading metropolitan areas, also reported negative months, their eighth straight as well.

With April’s gain, the IAS360, which fell 0.2% for the same period in 2009, is down 23.9% from its high set in July of 2007.

“Arguably, the housing market is in better shape today than it was a year ago, but it’s reasonable to think federal tax credits have propped up home sales and prices to some degree,” said Dave McCarthy, president and CEO of Integrated Asset Services. “I’m concerned the end of government support could lead to renewed weakening in the market.”

Home buyers who close on a deal by June 30 are eligible for the administration’s credit worth up to $8,000. The deadline for signing contracts was the end of April. Many analysts believe demand may cool after the effect of the tax credit fades, which would put added pressure on the housing marketplace.

Also weighing on the market’s near-term outlook is an estimated stockpile of more than 4 million unsold homes, the highest number since July according to the National Association of Realtors. The NAR also reported mortgage payments on as many as 2 million additional dwellings are 90 days or more late and may also be heading for foreclosure. Beyond that looms the so-called ‘shadow inventory’ of homes that have been taken over by banks or in the process of foreclosure. Many believe the shadow number could be approaching 1 million units.

“The IAS360 is the most forward-looking house price index in the marketplace,” says McCarthy, “and we can’t discount the fact that it’s positive after so many down months. But given all that’s in front of us, we can’t forget this improvement may be fleeting as well.”

The IAS360 uses “next-generation” trending methodology to identify market trends earlier than any other index. IAS data includes non-conforming, bank-owned, and conventional sales transactions segmented by property type in addition to those insured by the FHA and VA. The IAS360 also considers REO transactions along with arms-length transactions. The index is published weeks earlier than competing HPIs and refreshes historical trends as new data becomes available. The IAS360 is designed to report changes when they happen for the most accurate and useful view of the U.S. housing market.

IAS is a privately held Colorado-based corporation specializing in default mortgage services including valuation, reconciliation and full-cycle REO disposition. The company’s advanced valuation and volatility technology combined with its expert professional services helps its clients reduce exposure while expediting the entire asset management process. Founded by REO industry experts, IAS provides services that go beyond industry expectations, from the level of integrity of its employees to the measurably better service it routinely provides. For more information, visit www.iasreo.com.