From the Record:
Home prices in the region rose 6.7 percent in the year ending in January, the biggest jump since the housing-boom year of 2006, the Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller home price index said Tuesday.
Nationally, home prices were up by 13.2 percent year over year, pushed up by big gains in California, as well as in Sun Belt cities such as Las Vegas, where values collapsed during the housing bust. But month-to-month gains have begun slowing down, possibly indicating that home values will not rise as quickly this year. Northern areas showed especially weak month-to-month results in January, possibly because of the harsh winter.
“The housing recovery may have taken a breather due to the cold weather,” said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices.
Even with last year’s strong gains, home values both nationwide and in the region are about 20 percent below their peaks of mid-2006, and back to the levels of mid-2004.
January’s numbers continued a pattern of home values in the region rising less than the national averages. One reason is that they did not drop as much as in other areas of the country during the housing bust, so they have less lost ground to make up. In addition, New Jersey still has a large overhang of distressed properties in the foreclosure pipeline, and job growth has been slow in the state.
After last year’s 11.3 percent rise in home prices nationwide — the biggest jump since 2005 — “the housing market is showing signs of moving forward with more normal price increases,” Blitzer said.