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Home prices fall for seventh month, but at a reduced rate

Exclude distressed sales and home prices rose in February, but overall, home prices continue to fall. The silver lining is that the decline is slowing, showing signs of stabilization in the housing sector.

Home prices falling but at a reduced rate

According to the CoreLogic Home Price Index (HPI) released today, national home prices fell 2.0 percent in February compared to February 2011, and dropped 0.8 percent for the month, marking the seventh consecutive monthly decline. CoreLogic points out that when distressed sales are excluded, home prices actually rose 0.7 percent in February from January.

“House prices, based on data through February, continue to decline, but at a decreasing rate. The deceleration in the pace of decline is a first step toward ultimately growing again,” said Dr. Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic. “Excluding distressed sales, we already see modest price appreciation month over month in January and February.”

West Virginia, South Dakota appreciating the best

In February, the states with the highest appreciation were West Virginia (+8.6 percent), Michigan (+5.8 percent), Florida (+4.7 percent), Arizona (+4.5 percent) and South Dakota (+4.1 percent). The states experiencing the greatest depreciation were Delaware (-11.2 percent), Connecticut (-7.9 percent), Rhode Island (-7.8 percent), Illinois (-7.1 percent) and Georgia (-6.6 percent).

Excluding distressed sales, the states with the highest appreciation were South Dakota (+5.9 percent), West Virginia (+5.6 percent), Maine (+4.5 percent), Utah (+3.7 percent) and Montana (+3.6 percent). Also excluding distressed sales, these states experienced the greatest depreciation: Delaware (-8.7 percent), Connecticut (-4.9 percent), Nevada (-4.6 percent), Vermont (-4.0 percent) and Minnesota (-3.3 percent).

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Of the top 100 Core Based Statistical Areas (CBSAs) measured by population, 67 are showing year-over-year declines in February, nine fewer than in January, notes CoreLogic.

Signs of stabilization

“The continued strength of sales activity and tightening inventories in many markets are early and hopeful signs that prices will continue to stabilize and improve in the coming months. In fact, non-distressed home sale prices, which represent two-thirds of all sales, have appreciated by just over 1.0 percent since the beginning of the year,” said Anand Nallathambi, President and CEO of CoreLogic.

Tara Steele is the News Director at The American Genius, covering entrepreneur, real estate, technology news and everything in between. If you'd like to reach Tara with a question, comment, press release or hot news tip, simply click the link below.

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