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Residential property listings still falling in 10 key cities in the US, research shows

The latest 10 city composite index from Altos Research also shows that even though the listing time is generally decreasing, properties still tend to go unsold for the first 100 days of being listed.
The 10-city home price composite index was $479,781 in February 2010, up from the January 2009 bottom of $470,017, but down 5.75% from last year’s peak of $509,030 in July.
All of the 26 markets covered by Altos Research experienced a month-over-month listing price decrease, ranging from the smallest, a 0.2% decline in Miami, to a 4.4% decrease in San Francisco.
Early indicators of pricing show that monthly price declines will be somewhat abated by the normal spring selling season, Altos Research said. But the looming end of the Federal Reserve’s mortgage backed securities (MBS) purchase programme and the deadline to sign a contract to receive the homebuyer tax credit, may lead to more price falls.
Altos said that its price index may retrace its 2009 lows before it turns up in the spring and summer months. This might be alleviated if the tax credit is extended, however.
Inventory was up 8.3% from January in the 10-city composite in most markets. In Salt Lake City it fell 2.1%, Detroit was flat, and San Jose saw the biggest increase in listing inventory, up 18.6% from January to February. But the national inventory is still 10% lower than it was in February 2009.
All but two markets had a median listing time of 100 or more days. Overall the average was 166 days, down 3.7% from 172 days in January. San Francisco’s median was 86 days, down from 94 in January and San Jose had a median of 99 days, down from 102 the previous month. Chicago, at 220 days, had the longest average.
Every market except Las Vegas and Salt Lake City saw their median decrease from January to February. In Las Vegas, the median was up to 136 from 134 and in Salt Lake City, the median was 134, up from 132.
The Altos Research study looks at the market in Boston, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Miami, Las Vegas, Washington DC and Denver and includes existing single-family homes. It does not measure condos, town homes or new construction.
Meanwhile the latest index from First American CoreLogic shows that residential property prices in the US appear to be stabilising and were down less than 1% in January compared to the same time a year before. The 0.7% year-over-year decline in January was better than the 3.4% decrease in December.
Excluding distressed sales, prices declined 0.4% year-over-year in January, CoreLogic said, a considerable improvement from the 3.3% in December 2009.
CoreLogic now projects that house prices will continue to decline another 3.7% into the spring before bottoming out in April. After prices begin to stabilize, there will be a modest recovery for the rest of 2010. Excluding distressed sales, prices are projected to decrease only another 0.9%.
But recovery will be slow, it predicts. ‘The cumulative loss in home prices of 28% is more severe than the next worst housing recession of 24% cumulative decline which began in Louisiana in the mid-1980s,’ said First American CoreLogic chief economist Mark Fleming. ‘It took Louisiana five years to recover from the bottom, we expect this recovery to take at least as long,’ he added.