Written by Steven Hansen
The non-seasonally adjusted Case-Shiller home price index (20 cities) for August 2012 (released today) showed the fourth year-over-year gain in housing prices since the end of the housing stimulus in 2010.
- Home prices increased 0.3% month-over-month
- Home prices increased year-over-year 3.0% (versus 2.0% in August).
- The market had expected a year-over-year increase between 2.5% and 3.1% (versus the 3.0% reported)
Case-Shiller home price index was the last index showing year-over-year home price decline – and and is now positive for the fourth month. The National Association of Realtors and CoreLogic have reported year-over-year home price gains since April 2012. Note the caveats section at the end of this post.
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 (red line, right axis)
The way to understand the dynamics of home prices is to watch the direction of the rate of change – and not necessarily whether the prices are getting better or worse. Here almost universally – home prices are either improving or becoming less bad – with the National Association of Realtors home prices currently showing the largest price gains.
Year-over-Year Price Change Home Price Indices – Case-Shiller 3 Month Average (blue bar), CoreLogic (yellow bar) and National Association of Realtors (red bar)
There are some differences between the indices on the rate of “recovery” of home prices. However, the trend for the last 7 to 10 months have been an improving home market
A synopsis of Authors of the Leading Indices:
Case Shiller’s David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Indices, sees broad gains in the housing market.
“Home prices rose in the third quarter, marking the sixth consecutive month of increasing prices,” says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “In September’s report all three headline composites and 17 of the 20 cities gained over their levels of a year ago. Month-over-month, 13 cities and both Composites posted positive monthly gains.
“The National Composite increased by 3.6% from the same quarter in 2011 and by 2.2% from the second quarter of 2012. The 10- and 20-City Composites have posted positive annual returns for four consecutive months with a +2.1% and +3.0% annual change in September, respectively. Month-over-month, both Composites have recorded increases for six consecutive months, with the most recent monthly gain being +0.3% for each Composite.
“We are entering the seasonally weak part of the year. The headline figures, which are not seasonally adjusted, showed five cities with lower prices in September versus only one in August; in the seasonally adjusted data the pattern was reversed: one city fell in September versus two in August. Despite the seasons, housing continues to improve.
“Phoenix continues to lead the recovery with a +20.4% annual growth rate. Atlanta has finally reversed 26 months of annual declines with a +0.1% annual rate as observed in September’s housing data. At the other end of the spectrum, Chicago and New York were the only two cities to post annual declines of 1.5% and 2.3% respectively and were also down 0.6% and 0.1% month-over-month.
CoreLogic suggests home prices will continue to recover (September Data):
“Home price improvement nationally continues to outpace our expectations, growing 5 percent year-over-year in September, the best showing since July 2006,” said Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic. “While prices on a month-over-month basis are declining, as expected in the housing off-season, most states are exhibiting price increases. Gains are particularly large in former housing bubble states and energy-industry concentrated states.”
“Home prices are responding to better market fundamentals, such as reduced inventories and improved buyer demand,” said Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic. “So far this year, we’re seeing clear signs of stabilization and improvement that show promise for a gradual recovery in the residential housing market.”
Excluding distressed sales, home prices nationwide also increased on a year-over-year basis by 5 percent in September 2012 compared to September 2011. On a month-over-month basis excluding distressed sales, home prices increased 0.5 percent in September 2012 compared to August 2012, the seventh consecutive month-over-month increase. Distressed sales include short sales and real estate owned (REO) transactions.
The CoreLogic Pending HPI indicates that October 2012 home prices, including distressed sales, are expected to rise by 5.7 percent on a year-over-year basis from October 2011 and fall by 0.5 percent on a month-over-month basis from September 2012 as sales exhibit a seasonal slowdown going into the winter. Excluding distressed sales, October 2012 house prices are poised to rise 6.3 percent year-over-year from October 2011 and by 0.2 percent month-over-month from September 2012. The CoreLogic Pending HPI is a proprietary and exclusive metric that provides the most current indication of trends in home prices. It is based on Multiple Listing Service (MLS) data that measure price changes for the most recent month.
The National Association of Realtors believes the shrinking inventory of homes for sale are one on the major drivers for price increases (October 2012 data):
Lawrence Yun , NAR chief economist, said there was some impact from Hurricane Sandy. “Home sales continue to trend up and most October transactions were completed by the time the storm hit, but the growing demand with limited inventory is pressuring home prices in much of the country,” he said. “We expect an impact on Northeastern home sales in the coming months from a pause and delays in storm-impacted regions.”
“Rising home prices have already resulted in a $760 billion growth in home equity during the past year,” Yun said. “Given that each percentage point of price appreciation translates into an additional $190 billion in home equity, we could see close to a $1 trillion gain next year.”
Lender Processing Services (LPS) September 2012 home price index rose 0.1% month-over-month and 3.6% year-over-year.
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)
Recent review of the Fed 2011 stress tests for banks has a new recession scenario that would see home prices decline another 20% from here. It is unlikely that the attempts to complete a bottom here could hold under those conditions.
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