Pssst! Did you hear? Home prices, nationally, ootched up for the first annual increase in FIVE YEARS in the first quarter. Pass it along.
If you did not hear or read about it, it could be that what they say is true: Bad news can go around the world before good news can pull its boots on. There's no angst in a slight increase in home values — and angst is what drives the big boys and girls on TV news, even CNBC. Same goes for the Internet.
Even big newspapers that cover national housing as closely as I try to cover Oklahoma City-area housing for The Oklahoman are likely not to give as much attention to an increase in values like they do a decrease.
Or, maybe some editors and producers have anxiety fatigue after so many years of it in housing.
House prices up 0.5 percent? Seasonally adjusted? Says who? The Federal Housing Finance Agency?
Meh. BOR-ing. Right?
It's another glimmer of hope on the road to recovery, another wee breath of fresh air, from FHFA, which tracks home prices based on data from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgages: Seasonally adjusted house prices rose 0.5 percent from the first quarter of 2011 to the first quarter of 2012 in the FHFA's purchase-only index.
Also: the agency's monthly index for March showed a 1.8-percent increase in prices compared with February.
Maybe anxiety fatigue has set in around here, too, especially since throughout the five-year ordeal, Oklahoma City people in housing — builders, Realtors, title people and everyone else — have been straining to holler above the din of the nattering nabobs of negativism on the national news.
They've been exhaustedly pointing out the positives here, even as they, like everyone else, were taking some real hits in our own spooked and sluggish marketplace. And now, with home sales humming and builders daringly building spec homes again, maybe they're too busy to notice the shift in the national news.
So, allow me: “Yay,” I say.
Here are some more stats from the FHFA's first-quarter report:
• Oklahoma ranked No. 6 in the nation in annual house price appreciation by state (purchase-only index), with an increase of 3.5 percent from the first quarter of 2011 to the first quarter of 2012 (and a dip of 0.41 percent compared with the fourth quarter of last year; and almost flat, an increase of 0.92 percent, the past five years; and an increase of 92.6 percent since 1991).
• Oklahoma City ranked No. 27 among the metropolitan statistical areas in the all-transaction index, which includes both purchase and refinance mortgages, with annual appreciation of 1.4 percent, a quarter-to-quarter slip of 0.09 percent, and an increase of 2.65 percent the past five years.
• Tulsa ranked No. 49 in the all-transactions index, with annual appreciation of 0.81 percent, a quarter-to-quarter slip of 0.75 percent, and an increase of 2.73 percent the past five years.