Case-Shiller Home Prices May 2014: Price Growth Continues to Slow

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The non-seasonally adjusted Case-Shiller home price index (20 cities) for May 2014 (released today) rate of growth again declined sharply but showed the 24rd consecutive monthly year-over-year gain in housing prices since the end of the housing stimulus in 2010.

Follow up:

 

  • 20 city unadjusted home price rate of growth decelerated 1.5% month-over-month. [Econintersect uses the change in year-over-year growth from month-to-month to calculate the change in rate of growth]
  • Case-Shiller continues to show the highest year-over-year home price gains of any home price index.
  • The market expected:
  Consensus Range Consensus Actual
20-city, SA - M/M -0.5 % to 1.4 %  0.4 % -0.3% 
20-city, NSA - M/M  0.3 % to 2.0 %  0.4 %  1.1%
20-city, NSA - Yr/Yr 9.2 % to 10.3 %  9.9 % 9.3% 

S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices Year-over-Year Change

Comparing all the home price indices, it needs to be understood each of the indices uses a unique methodology in compiling their index – and no index is perfect. The National Association of Realtors normally shows exaggerated movements which likely is due to inclusion of more higher value homes.

Comparison of Home Price Indices – Case-Shiller 3 Month Average (blue line, left axis), CoreLogic (green line, left axis) and National Association of Realtors 3 Month Average (red line, right axis)

/images/z existing3.PNG

The way to understand the dynamics of home prices is to watch the direction of the rate of change. Here home price growth is now decelerating.

Year-over-Year Price Change Home Price Indices – Case-Shiller 3 Month Average (blue bar), CoreLogic (yellow bar) and National Association of Realtors 3 Month Average (red bar)

/images/z existing5.PNG

There are some differences between the indices on the rate of “recovery” of home prices. 

A synopsis of Authors of the Leading Indices:

Case Shiller’s David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Indices:

Home prices rose at their slowest pace since February of last year. The 10- and 20-City Composites posted just over 9%, well below expectations. Month-to-month, all cities are posting gains before seasonal adjustment; after seasonal adjustment 14 of 20 were lower.

Year-over-year, nine cities – Las Vegas (16.9%), San Francisco (15.4%), Miami (13.2%), San Diego (12.4%), Los Angeles (12.3%), Detroit (11.9%), Atlanta (11.2%), Tampa (10.2%) and Portland (10.0%) – posted double-digit increases in May 2014. The Sun Belt continues to lead with seven of the top eight performing cities. Eighteen of 20 cities had lower year-over-year numbers than last month; San Francisco and San Diego saw their year-over-year figures decelerate by about three percentage points.

Housing has been turning in mixed economic numbers in the last few months. Prices and sales of existing homes have shown improvement while construction and sales of new homes continue to lag. At the same time, the broader economy and especially employment are showing larger improvements and substantial gains.

CoreLogic believes home price growth is slowing (May Data) - and that news is not all bad. Per Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic and Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic:

May's 8.8 percent year-over-year growth rate is down almost three percentage points from just three months ago. The influences of modestly rising inventory and less-than-expected demand are causing price growth to moderate toward our forecasted expectations.

Home prices are continuing to climb across most of the country which has both positive and negative implications for the housing market. While the rapid rise in prices over the past two years has lifted many homeowners out of negative equity, it has also become a negative factor in buying decisions for prospective purchasers weighing affordability concerns. As we move ahead, a moderation in home price increases over the next twelve months should help cool things down a bit and keep the housing recovery going.

The National Association of Realtors continue to live in their world of hype (June 2014 data). Per Lawrence Yun , NAR chief economist and Steve Brown, NAR President:

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said housing fundamentals are moving in the right direction. “Inventories are at their highest level in over a year and price gains have slowed to much more welcoming levels in many parts of the country. This bodes well for rising home sales in the upcoming months as consumers are provided with more choices,” he said. “On the contrary, new home construction needs to rise by at least 50 percent for a complete return to a balanced market because supply shortages – particularly in the West – are still putting upward pressure on prices.” Yun also noted that stagnant wage growth is holding back what should be a stronger pace of sales. “Hiring has been a bright spot in the economy this year, adding an average of 230,000 jobs each month,” he said. “However, the lack of wage increases is leaving a large pool of potential homebuyers on the sidelines who otherwise would be taking advantage of low interest rates. Income growth below price appreciation will hurt affordability.”

NAR President Steve Brown said Realtors® are reporting that some prospective buyers who have above average credit scores but low down payments are deterred from homeownership by the high cost of FHA mortgage insurance. “Access to affordable credit continues to hamper young, prospective first-time buyers,” added Brown. “NAR recommends that FHA reduce high annual mortgage insurance premiums for all qualified homebuyers and eliminate the insurance requirement for the life of the loan. FHA’s HAWK program is a good start, but it should offer further reductions for participating home buyers.”

Black Knight Financial Services (formerly known as Lender Processing Services) May 2014 home price index up 0.9% for the Month; Up 5.9% Year-over-Year.

Econintersect publishes knowledgeable views of the housing market.

Caveats on the Use of Home Price Indices

The housing price decline seen since 2005 varies by zip code – and seems to have ended somewhere around the beginning of the 2Q2012. Every area of the country has differing characteristics. Since January 2006, the housing declines in Charlotte and Denver are well less than 10%, while Las Vegas home prices had declined almost 60%.

Each home price index uses a different methodology – and this creates slightly different answers. There is some evidence in various home price indices that home prices are beginning to stabilize – the evidence is also in this post. Please see the post Economic Headwinds from Real Estate Moderate.

The most broadly based index is the US Federal Housing Finance Agency’s House Price Index (HPI) – a quarterly broad measure of the movement of single-family house prices. This index is a weighted, repeat-sales index on the same properties in 363 metro centers, compared to the 20 cities Case-Shiller.

The US Federal Housing Finance Agency also has an index (HPIPONM226S) based on 6,000,000 same home sales – a much broader index than Case-Shiller. Also, there is a big difference between home prices and owner’s equity (OEHRENWBSHNO) which has been included on the graph below.

Comparing Various Home Price Indices to Owner’s Equity (blue line)

With rents increasing and home prices declining – the affordability factor favoring rental vs owning is reversing. Rising rents are shifting the balance.

Price to Rent Ratio – Indexed on January 2000 – Based on Case-Shiller 20 cities index ratio to CPI Rent Index

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