House prices reflected in CoreLogic's March Home Price Index which was released today increased on a month-over-month basis for the first time in nearly a year.  The Index which measures home prices including sales of distressed properties increased by 0.6 percent from February, the first such increase since July 2011.  The Index, however, was down the by the identical number from the Index in March 2011.  When distressed sales (short sales and sales of lender-owned properties (REO)) are excluded, the month-over-month number was up for the third consecutive month and was 0.9 percent higher than the corresponding number in March 2011.

The national HPI including distressed sales has decreased 33.7 percent from its peak in April 2006 to present.  When distressed sales are excluded the peak-to-current change in the HPI was -24.5 percent.

"This spring the housing market is responding to an improving balance between real estate supply and demand which is causing stabilization in house prices," said Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic. "Although this has been the case in each of the last two years, the difference this year is that stabilization is occurring without the support of tax credits and in spite of a declining share of REO sales."

The states with the highest level of appreciation in the Index, including distressed sales, were Wyoming (+5.9 percent), West Virginia (+5.3 percent), and Arizona (+5.1 percent).  When distressed sales are not included the greatest appreciation occurred in Idaho (+5.4 percent) North Dakota (+5.1 percent), and South Carolina (+4.7 percent).

States with the largest decrease including distressed sales were Delaware (-10.6 percent), Illinois (-8.3 percent), and Alabama (-8.0 percent).  Excluding distressed sales the depreciation was greatest in Delaware (-7.6 percent), Alabama (-4.1 percent), and Nevada (-3.9 percent.)

Of the top 100 Core Based Statistical Areas as measured by population 57 had annual declines as of March, eight fewer than in February.