June 2nd, 2011 04:49pm

Wilmington-area home prices…went up?

by Wayne Faulkner

Thursday was a different kind of day for Wilmington.

It was when a real estate research firm said the area’s home prices actually rose, even when counting so-called distressed sales – foreclosures, short sales and bank-owned property.

CoreLogic reported that home prices that included distressed sales rose 0.24 percent in April compared with April 2010. That followed a decline of 1.6 percent in March.

But excluding those homes, prices rose 3.75 percent in April compared with a year earlier.

That was three times better than North Carolina as a whole, where homes prices, excluding distressed sales, rose 1.4 percent in the CoreLogic Home Price Index.

The CoreLogic index includes New Hanover, Pender and Brunswick counties.

Home prices have been under pressure nationwide as thousands of foreclosed homes pour onto the market, dragging prices down across the market. Paring that glut is a key to stabilizing the housing market.

The Wilmington-area figures were part of a national index that showed home prices are still 7.5 percent lower than April 2010, when the first-time home buyer tax credit was in place.

National prices did, however, rise from March to April – the first month-over-month increase since the middle of last year, CoreLogic said.

States with the highest increases in prices that included foreclosures were North Dakota, Vermont and New York, the District of Columbia and Mississippi.

The states with the biggest declines were Idaho, Michigan, Arizona, Rhode Island and Nevada.

The CoreLogic index came in the wake of a dismal showing by the Case-Shiller Home Price Index on Tuesday. It showed a double-dip in housing prices among the nation’s 20 largest metro areas.

After rebounding in 2009 and 2010, home prices in major metro areas returned to mid-2002 levels in the first quarter, according to the Case-Shiller Index.

The CoreLogic index also showed that the three biggest declines in home prices that included foreclosures were in Chicago, Phoenix and Atlanta.

They were up, however, in the New York City area.