(DENVER, CO) -- Back-to-back storms and piling snow kept house prices down for the sixth straight month, according to the latest data from Denver, CO-based Integrated Asset Services.
No relief is in sight, notes David W. McCarthy, president and CEO of IAS.
"It's clear the housing market is struggling to rebound on just about every level," McCarthy says. "We're looking at the most granular data available in the industry, and it would appear the housing recovery is going to be more prolonged than originally anticipated."
Integrated's Housing Price Index (HPI) fell 2.3 percent in January.
McCarthy also notes another obstacle to price improvement: the number of repossessed homes that lenders are holding back from the market.
The ultimate liquidation of this so-called shadow inventory, which by most estimates is somewhere between two and seven million houses, has the potential to drive down home values in neighborhoods around the country, he says.
DSNews.com reports McCarthy believes this hidden supply could take several years to clear from the national inventory.
He said the potential for a whole new wave of distressed activity down the road is "very likely." He feels the risk of further weakening in home values is "considerable."
Unusually severe winter weather in large regions of the country may have added to housing market woes, according to DSNews.com.
For example, in the Midwest, prices dropped another 2.6 percent in January, following a similar drop in December. The region includes Illinois, down 4.9 percent; Missouri, down 4.4 percent; and Minnesota, down 3.5 percent.
Prices in the Northeast slipped another 0.5 percent; in the West, down 2.6 percent. The South saw a 2.2 percent drop in prices.
The collective damage created the largest single-month decline in the IAS360 in more than a year and left the HPI down some 30 percent from its high in mid-2007, DSNews.com reports.