Home prices rise. Foreclosure activity at 17-year lows. Stocks plunge.

CoreLogic reports that home prices nationwide, including distressed sales, rose 6.6% year over year in the month ended in December. On a month-over-month basis, prices increased 0.5% from November to December. CoreLogic reports that rising incomes and consumer confidence have increased the number of prospective buyers. The increase in potential buyers coupled with limited inventories of homes for sale on the market continues to drive prices higher. Looking ahead, prices are expected to cool a bit with a 4.3% gain from December 2017 to December 2018.

Foreclosure starts and completions have fallen to a 17-year low in 2017 as the economy and the housing markets continue to grow. Black Knight Financial reports that there were 649,000 foreclosure starts in 2017, which were the fewest since 2000. First-time foreclosure starts were 15% below 2016 levels and about half the annual average seen from 2000-2005. In addition, 2017 saw the lowest single-year total for foreclosure completions since the turn of the century.

U.S. Stock markets plunged yesterday with the Dow Jones Industrial Average shedding 1,175 points, its largest one day point loss in its 122-year history. The Dow had been up 40% since the presidential election in November 2016 so a correction was overdue. The fundamentals are still in pace for the U.S. economy. Economic growth continues while the job market continues to expand and consumer confidence is at multi-year highs.