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Housing prices up across the Valley

Housing prices nationwide fell in the last quarter of 2011, ending three months of price increases. But the Phoenix area was among the exceptions, showing healthy gains. From Phoenix, KJZZ’s Terry Ward reports.

TERRY WARD:  Phoenix capped off the fourth quarter of last year with a 3.2 percent gain in housing prices compared to the same quarter a year earlier. The numbers are even better year over year with prices up 4.5 percent, according to data compiled by Clear Capital. Spokesman Alex Villacorta says the rebound is driven by a big drop in the number of foreclosures, which has dropped to 31 percent.

ALEX VILLACORTA: That’s a big deal considering that at the height of the crisis 63 percent of all sales were distressed and that holds prices down and now that’s easing dramatically.

 TERRY WARD: Villacorta says in a healthy market, that number would be closer to 5 percent but he says even at current levels, that should be enough for the market to regain a foothold. Villacorta also says last year’s 4.5 percent increase in prices is consistent with a healthy market.

 ALEX VILLACORTA: The rate of appreciation yearly was around 5 percent from the mid-90s thru the mid-2000’s. We saw that rate consistently 5 percent, 5 percent, 5 percent.

 TERRY WARD: Villacorta says historically, gains in home prices closely track the rate of inflation. Along with Phoenix, some other top-performing markets in the West include Denver, Houston, Fresno and Dallas.