October 21, 2011 (Jeff Alan)

Radar Logic’s RPX Composite Price Index (CPI) for August declined 0.8 percent from July, reflecting the largest decline for this time of the year since 2008. A study in this months report also found that the new lower conforming loan limits should have a minimal impact on home prices.

Home prices in August were 4.7 percent lower than in August 2010 with data suggesting that the seasonal summer to fall decline in home prices already began in August. Since the beginning of the year, the increase in home prices has been the smallest since 2008.

Home sales also declined in August as the RPX transaction count declined 5.2 percent from July to August. Year-over-year the transaction count was 13 percent higher, however, the gain was mostly due to weak sales in August of last year following the end of the home buyer’s tax credit.

Home sales fell dramatically from May through August of 2010 following the end of the home buyer’s tax credit on April 30, while sales during that same time period this year reflected more seasonal trends. The strong year-over-year sales gains reflect the weakness of last year’s sales relative to the seasonal norms of this year.

If home sales follow their typical seasonal pattern of declining during the fall, those year-over-year sales gains are expected disappear by the end of the year.

“We continue to see the negative effects of the supply/demand imbalance in housing,” said Michael Feder, President and CEO of Radar Logic. “Until we truly begin to deal with it, the numbers will reflect the fundamental weakness in housing markets,” Feder added.

The CPI reports that 22 of the 25 metropolitan areas featured in the report registered year-over-year price declines. The only areas to post a price increase were Washington D.C. (+2.5%), Detroit (+0.9%) and Boston (+0.2%).

Month-over-month, only three metropolitan areas posted a price increase with New York posting the largest gain of 0.7 percent followed by Washington D.C. (+0.4%) and Phoenix (+0.1%).

Year-over-year home transactions increased in 22 of the 25 metropolitan areas with only San Jose (-2.2%), Detroit (-6.4%) and Charlotte (-6.5) posting declines, while only six of the 25 metropolitan areas posted a monthly increase in home transactions.

St. Louis had the largest increase in monthly home transactions of 39.7 percent while Charlotte suffered the largest decline in transactions falling 19.0 percent.

As part of this month’s report, Radar Logic conducted a study to find the percentage of sales that would be affected by the new lower conforming loan limits that took effect on October 1.

The study found that the reduction in the loan limits would affect less than ten percent of the home sales in any of the 25 metropolitan areas in the CPI with San Jose having the highest percentage of affected sales at 9.3 percent, followed by San Francisco at 6.7 percent and New York at 6.4 percent.

Given the small percentage of home sales affected, Radar Logic concluded that the reduction in the conforming loan limits in high cost areas would probably be minimal and should not significantly impact home prices.

Tags: Radar Logic, RPX Composite Price Index, housing prices, housing sales transactions, rate of decline, declining prices, conforming loan limits

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