Zillow just released its home values and rent index for February.
Although the home price increase was only .1 percent from January to February, that rise reflected the sixteenth consecutive month of increasing home prices. The year-over-year gain was 5.8 percent, the second highest since August of 2006. (January had the highest.)
Zillow’s market reports survey 352 metropolitan and “micropolitan” areas. More than three-quarters of the surveyed areas reflected market appreciation for homeowners and buyers. Detroit, Riverside, Phoenix and Las Vegas were at the head of the recovering pack.
Rents were up 4.5 percent over January. Leading the increasing rent markets were Denver (8.5%), Charlotte (6.4%), Boston (6.1%) and San Francisco (5.9%). Zillow reports that investors are buying up distressed properties and converting them into rental properties. Both foreclosures as well as distressed property sales declined in February.
Nationally, Zillow expects 3.2 percent annual appreciation in home prices in 2013. Its experts caution that the recovery from underwater properties will be slow.