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posted on 29 December 2015

Case-Shiller Home Price Index October 2015 Improves.

Written by Steven Hansen

The non-seasonally adjusted Case-Shiller home price index (20 cities) year-over-year rate of home price growth was 5.5 %. The authors of the index ask " if mortgage interest rate might rise. Typically, increases in short term interest rates lead to smaller increases in long term interest rates."

  • 20 city unadjusted home price rate of growth accelerated 0.2 % month-over-month. [Econintersect uses the change in year-over-year growth from month-to-month to calculate the change in rate of growth]
  • The market expected:
Consensus Range Consensus Actual
20-city, SA - M/M 0.4 % to 1.4 % 0.6 % +0.8 %
20-city, NSA - Y/Y 5.2 % to 6.3 % 5.4 % +5.5 %

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)

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 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)

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:

Generally good economic conditions continue to support gains in home prices. Among the positive factors are consumers' expectations of low inflation and further economic growth as well as recent increases in residential construction including single family housing starts. Inventories of existing homes have averaged around a five month supply for the past year, a level that suggests a fairly tight market with limited supplies. Sales of new single family homes, despite recent increases in construction, remain mixed to soft compared to the trend in existing home sales.

The recent action by the Federal Reserve raising the Fed funds target rate by 25bp and spreading expectations of further increases during 2016 are leading some to wonder if mortgage interest rate might rise. Typically, increases in short term interest rates lead to smaller increases in long term interest rates. The chart below shows the average rate on 30-year fixed rate mortgages and the Fed funds rate. From May 2004 to July 2007, the Fed funds rate moved up from 1.0% to 5.25%; over the same period, the mortgage rate rose from about 6% to 6.75% during a sustained tightening effort by the Federal Reserve. The latest economic projections published by the Fed following the recent rate increase suggest that the Fed funds rate will be around 2.6% in September 2017 compared to a current rate of about 0.5%. These data suggest that potential home buyers need not fear runaway mortgage interest rates.

CoreLogic believes low inventories are spurring rising home prices (October Data). Per Dr Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic:

Many markets experienced a low inventory of homes offered for sale and strong byyer demand, sustaining upward pressure on home prices. These conditions are likely to persist as we enter 2016. During the year ending October 2016, we expect the CoreLogic national Home Price index appreciation to slow to 5.2 percent.

The National Association of Realtors says home sales prices have moderated (November 2015 data):

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says multiple factors led to November's sales decline, but the primary reason could be an anomaly as the industry adjusts to the new Know Before You Owe rule. "Sparse inventory and affordability issues continue to impede a large pool of buyers' ability to buy, which is holding back sales," he said. "However, signed contracts have remained mostly steady in recent months, and properties sold faster in November. Therefore it's highly possible the stark sales decline wasn't because of sudden, withering demand."

According to Yun, although Realtors® are adjusting accordingly to the Know Before You Owe initiative, the main takeaway so far has been the need for longer closing times. According to NAR's Realtors® Confidence Index, 47 percent of respondents in November reported that they are experiencing a longer time to close compared to a year ago, up from 37 percent in October.

"It's possible the longer timeframes pushed a latter portion of would-be November transactions into December," says Yun. "As long as closing timeframes don't rise even further, it's likely more sales will register to this month's total, and November's large dip will be more of an outlier."

"Realtors® worked hard to prepare for Know Before You Owe, and we knew there would be some near-term challenges as the industry continues to adapt," says NAR President Tom Salomone. "Nonetheless, an early trend of longer lead times to closings is cause for concern. As Realtors® report issues with their transactions, we will continue to work with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to ensure as little disruption as possible to the business of real estate."

Black Knight Financial Services (formerly known as Lender Processing Services) Septembert 2015 home price index Up 0.1 Percent for the Month; Up 5.5 Percent 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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