Monthly House Prices Remain 1.9% Below 2009: IAS

National house prices rose 1.1% in March from February, but are still 1.9% below year-ago levels, according to the latest monthly report by Integrated Asset Services (IAS). At the same time, online real estate marketplace Zillow found home values dropped 3.8% from last year. A 3.2% monthly gain in the Midwest and a 2.5% gain in the South drove the overall monthly turnaround from seven months of decline. The West improved 0.8% from February and the Northeast slipped 0.4%, according to the IAS360 House Price Index (HPI). On a yearly basis, the Midwest is the only region to post a positive change — up 0.8% from March 2009 — while the Northeast, South and West all declined, 0.5%, 3.4% and 2.3%, respectively: The HPI is now 23.6% off the July 2007 peak. National house prices are sitting around the first-quarter 2004 levels. “Any gain in the IAS360 is well-received, of course, but one month-over-month improvement is hardly evidence the national housing market is recovering,” said president and CEO Dave McCarthy, in a press statement. “In fact, our neighborhood trend lines indicate house prices have not found a bottom in many parts of the nation.” Major metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) moved in different directions in March, IAS said. The three big California MSAs (San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego), Chicago, and Miami all registered gains in March, while Boston, New York, and Las Vegas all lost ground. The Las Vegas MSA fell without interruption since July of 2006, and prices in the hard-hit region are hovering around levels last seen at the end of 2000. Write to Diana Golobay.

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