posted on 26 May 2015
Written by Steven Hansen
The non-seasonally adjusted Case-Shiller home price index (20 cities) for February 2015 (released today) year-over-year rate of home price growth was unchanged at 5.0%. The authors of the index say: "Given the long stretch of strong reports, it is no surprise that people are asking if we're in a new home price bubble".
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)
The way to understand the dynamics of home prices is to watch the direction of the rate of change. Here home price growth generally appears to be stabilizing (rate of growth not rising or falling).
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)
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:
CoreLogic believes home price growth will be 5% over the next 12 months (March Data). Per Dr. Frank Nothaft, chief economist at CoreLogic and Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic:
The National Association of Realtors says home sales growth for Spring is much improved (April 2015 data):
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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