CoreLogic: Prices Surge in Texas’ Biggest Metro

by James McClister

New study from CoreLogic reveals how prices are changing around the country


Marking more than three years of consecutive year-over-year growth, home prices nationwide, including distressed sales, pushed forward another 6.8 percent in April, according to a new report from CoreLogic.

It has been a similar story all year: low supply and strong demand force home prices higher. From March, total sales increased by 2.7 percent, while sales, excluding distressed, rose 2.3 percent month-over-month and 6.8 percent year-over-year. Moving into summer, the pace of appreciation is expected to remain strong as inventory remains low. At last reporting, the national inventory was at a 5.3-months supply and well below pre-crisis levels.

Houston, and Texas in general, continued to stand out in April as home prices, including distressed sales, increased 9.5 percent – a gain second only to Dallas (10.3 percent) – and excluding distressed sales, 9.5 percent, as well. Monthly jumps were less pronounced at 2.2 percent for both prices including and not including distressed sales.

At the state level, total home prices rose 8.3 percent from the same time last year, and prices, excluding distressed sales, increased 8.2 percent.

Of course, while prices within the state and its biggest metro remain affordable relative to the rest of the country, buyers are not likely to welcome the increases as many consider several of Texas’ bigger markets to be already overvalued. Persistently shallow inventories but strong demand are coaxing prices higher, and if construction doesn’t seriously pick up, which recent spending numbers suggest it’s not, appreciation could could get out of control and the market could find itself in a precarious position.



An Expected Jump

Much like March, CoreLogic’s report documented a month of near universal gains. The increases themselves are not terribly surprising, considering historical increases during the spring and summer months, but the pace of appreciation, at least in some areas, arouses cause for concern.

Here are some more localized findings from the group’s report:

  • Including distressed sales, 30 states plus the District of Columbia were at or within 10 percent of their peak prices in April. Eight states and the District of Columbia reached new price peaks not experienced since January 1976 when the CoreLogic HPI started. These states included Alaska, Colorado, Nebraska, New York, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Wyoming.
  • Excluding distressed sales, only South Dakota (-0.3 percent) and Louisiana (-0.2 percent) showed year-over-year depreciation in April.

Appreciation to Continue into 2016

Right out of 2015’s gate, prices were on the upswing, CoreLogic Chief Economist Frank Nothaft recalled in a statement accompanying the report.

“One byproduct of the increased sales activity is rising house prices, and, as a result, month-over-month home prices are up almost 3 percent for April 2015 and up more than 6 percent from a year ago,” he added in explanation.

As to what is fueling the increase, Anand Nallathambi, the group’s president and chief executive, attributes the swelling pace to fundamental economic drivers: supply and demand.

“Old fashion supply and demand, fueled by historically low mortgage rates and improving consumer finances and confidence, continue to push home prices up,” he said.

Looking ahead, Nallathambi went on to say he expects appreciation to continue throughout the year and later spill into 2016.

“Over the longer term, household formation, up by more than one million over the past year alone, will drive down vacancy rates and create tighter housing markets in many metropolitan areas,” he said. “This should provide the necessary underpinning for rising prices for the foreseeable future.”

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