Report: Real Estate Prices Seen Leveling

Mountain View, California (EastBayDaily) — The Altos 10-City Composite Price Index increase by 1.1% during both March and the first quarter of 2009. Prices of properties listed for-sale increased in 18 of 26 major markets and were down in 8 markets according to the Real-Time Housing Market Report, jointly published by Altos Research, the premier source for real-time real estate statistics, and market analysis consultancy Real IQ.

Asking prices fell at the fastest rate during March in Salt Lake City followed closely by Las Vegas – down 4.0% and 3.9% respectively. Listing pricesof single family homes rose at the fastest rate in San Francisco – up 3.8% in March. Prices in seven markets – New York, Boston, Houston, Los Angeles, San Diego, Miami and Charlotte – are now showing three months of sequential listing price increases.

“Nationally, housing prices have been in free fall for two years. For the first time we’re seeing some fragile signs of stability. Though the hardest hit markets, Las Vegas in particular, have not seen any slowing in the housing bust,” said Michael Simonsen co-founder ceo of Altos Research. “It’s important to note that it’s far too early to call this any kind of recovery in the housing market. These are merely the first inklings that low interest rates and desperate sellers have coincided to create a kind of floor where well financed buyers are picking up bargains.”

Inventory levels increased in most major markets with inventory rising in 16 of 26 markets. Across the 10-City Composite Index markets, inventory rose by 1.3% in March and 2.2% during the most recent three-month period. Inventory grew by the largest amount in Austin up 9.9% followed by Boston up 7.9%. Inventory fell by the largest amount in San Diego and Tampa where it contracted by 6.4% and 6.3% respectively.

“Inventory levels are exhibiting typical industry seasonality with increases in a majority of major markets during March,” said Stephen Bedikian, partner and research director for Real IQ. “The critical question is whether a sustained rise in inventory during the next few months of the spring selling season will overwhelm demand or whether the Fed-engineered low mortgage rates will provide a market floor.”

During March every market except Salt Lake City had a median days-on-market of 100 or more. By far, the market with the slowest rate of inventory turnover was again Miami, now at a median of 234 days-on-market or nearly eight months. Miami has experienced the slowest market turnover in every month since September 2007. Salt Lake City experienced the fastest rate of inventory turnover at a median of 84 days-on-market, followed by San Francisco at 104 days.

Data in the Real-Time Housing Market Report is based on analysis of over one million properties currently listed for-sale in 26 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs): Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, Phoenix, Portland, Salt Lake City, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, Tampa, and Washington, DC. The first report was published December 7, 2007 and is released every month.

About Altos Research Altos Research LLC pioneered real-time real estate research. Founded in 2005, the company’s information products serve investors, traders, and thousands of real estate professionals. Because real estate data is traditionally obscure and highly latent, Altos built the Real-Time Market Intelligence(TM) platform to monitor dozens of housing market metrics as they are right now in local markets across the country. The company publishes real estate statistics for thousands of local markets around the country. Download the Altos Research National Real Estate Report.


Michael Simonsen
Altos Research