Clear Capital: The Motor City Leads Housing Recovery In October

Detroit has taken the housing recovery lead for last month, according to October's Home Data Index (HDI) Market Report from Clear Capital, a provider of data and solutions for real estate asset valuation and collateral risk assessment.

‘While the speed at which some markets are returning to pre-bubble norms is noteworthy, recovery is relative,’ says Alex Villacorta, vice president of research and analytics at Clear Capital. ‘Detroit is a great example. While it has seen more than 30% growth over the year, the market would need to see another 262% growth to hit peak prices.’

Villacorta explains how Detroit prices have fallen in line with its historical trends (pre-2006), and following 2006, prices fell nearly 77% – a response to a severe price correction.

October 2013 highlights from the report include the following:

-National home price trends showed signs of moderation.
-Nationally, prices expanded 11.7% over the last year. The West maintained the regional lead with 19.5% yearly growth.
-Rolling quarterly rates of growth indicate moderation is under way. National quarterly rates of growth have fallen from 3.8% to 2.1%.
-Nationally, low price-tier homes (with values in the 25th percentile of all homes sold) have seen strong moderation from the last rolling quarter. Current rolling quarterly gains of 2.5% are less than half of the prior rolling quarter. Considering this sector led the recovery, the current cooling is further indication that moderation is unfolding.

Metro markets continue to exhibit variation in their growth drivers yet share some similarities in overall trends, according to the HDI:

-Of the 15 highest-performing major metro markets, 11 have seen yearly gains top 20.0%.
-Lowest-performing major metro markets remained relatively stable. Only one metro saw price declines over the last year at -1.1% – a relatively minor decline.
-Out of the top 50 major metro markets, the Detroit metropolitan statistical area turned out the strongest quarterly growth at 7.8% and second highest yearly gains of 31.6%. This can be attributed, in part, to its improved REO saturation rate, down 34.7 percentage points from the high of 64.6% in 2009.
-Detroit's median price is $120,000 – just over half the national median price of $210,000. Relatively small price gains will more heavily influence percentage gains in Detroit than in higher-priced markets.
-Detroit also ranks number one in real estate owned saturation at 29.9%.

According to Clear Capital, in a market with severely depressed prices, bubble-like behavior is unlikely, and a sustained recovery will depend on the strength of the local economy. Unemployment sits at more than 9.0% in Detroit, and median incomes are nearly half of national median income, the company reports.

‘While prices across the country saw another boost in October, gains are starting to taper over the last quarter, in what could be the tail end of the summer buying season,’ continues Villacorta. ‘We continue to see trends in the low-tier price sector support a likely moderation ahead. And as we've maintained, moderation defines a healthy recovery. While some markets currently have eye-popping growth rates reminiscent of the housing run-up, these trends are mainly short-term corrections as markets fall back in line with their long-run levels.’


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