In September, home prices improved in nearly all of the largest counties throughout the United States as tracked by DataQuick.
According to the company’s new Property Intelligence Report (PIR), home prices grew in 40 out of 42 counties month-over-month, while prices improved in all 42 counties from the previous quarter and over the last year.
DataQuick suggested the PIR is displaying evidence the recovery in housing is underway, but the PIR found an uneven recovery, with some areas facing risk factors, such as high REO inventory.
Gordon Crawford, VP of analytics for DataQuick, highlighted changes in Maricopa County, where house price growth was the highest on a monthly, quarterly, and yearly basis. From September 2011 to September 2012, prices in Maricopa County grew 20.23 percent.
However, Crawford noted the growth may not be sustainable when looking at other factors.
“It’s unlikely that this rapid growth can continue as foreclosure and sales trends do not support continued increases,” said Crawford.
The PIR, which also tracks foreclosures and sales trends for more than 120 million U.S. properties, found that in Maricopa County, the foreclosure growth rate surged 32.67 percent month-over-month and increased 19.48 percent over the last quarter.
Sales were also down in the county, falling 8.07 percent quarter-over-quarter and by 4.84 percent from September 2011.
If a backlog of foreclosures floods the market as some have anticipated and the increase in prices encourages would-be sellers to list their properties, home price growth will be dampened, DataQuick explained.
Overall, foreclosures fell in just 16 of the 42 reported counties over the last month, declined in 19 over the last quarter, and dropped in 21 counties over the last year.
Crawford explained foreclosure numbers tend to be more volatile than home price and sales numbers.
Orange County in Florida saw its foreclosure growth rate spike month-over-month, rising 26.98 percent. Fairfax County in Virginia increased 25 percent during the same period.
On the other hand, Suffolk County in New York saw its foreclosure rate suddenly plummet 47.37 percent month-over-month after rising 42.86 percent from a year ago. The foreclosure rate in Middlesex County also nose-dived from the previous month, falling 50 percent from August and 70.37 percent from the previous year.
Sales increased in 19 of the 42 reported counties over the last month and improved in 30 of the 42 reported counties over the last quarter. Year-over-year, sales were up in 35 of the 42 counties.
Although prices fell 0.2 percent in Fulton County, Georgia from August, sales grew 44.79 percent during the same period. Despite a typical seasonal decline for sales in September, some counties showed strong monthly, quarterly, and yearly growth in sales, including Orange County, California; St. Louis County, Missouri; Shelby County, Tennessee; and Multnomah County, Oregon.
While data on a county level offers a closer look at housing trends across the country, Crawford added that having data on a zip code level is very helpful for making investment decisions due to variations in different neighborhoods.