More signs of an improved housing market

The numbers confirm what we've been hearing anecdotally for several months: L.A.-area home prices rose 6.2 percent in October compared with a year earlier and 0.6 percent compared with the previous month, according to the Case-Shiller index. L.A. was among only six of 20 metro areas to show an increase from September to October (Vegas was up 2.8 percent and Phoenix was up 1.4 percent). Meanwhile, the value of homes in the L.A.-OC County area rose $122 billion in 2012, to $1.8 trillion, according to the online real estate site Zillow (via the OC Register). It was the biggest cumulative gain of any major metro area in the nation.

Nationwide, home values increased $1.35 trillion this year to a combined value of about $23.7 trillion. "The housing market really turned a corner in 2012, as historic affordability and sustained investor interest helped keep demand at a boil," Zillow Chief Economist Stan Humphries said. "We expect value gains to continue into 2013. "As home values rise and more homeowners are freed from negative equity, we can expect a continued slow transition to a more normal housing environment."

From Bill McBride at Calculated Risk:

Over the winter, the key will be to watch the year-over-year change in house prices and to compare to the [not seasonally adjusted] lows in early 2012. I think the house price indexes have already bottomed, and will be up about 6% or so year-over-year when prices reach the usual seasonal bottom in early 2013.

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
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