Case-Shiller Home Prices Grow Again in July 2013

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The non-seasonally adjusted Case-Shiller home price index (20 cities) for July 2013 (released today) showed the 14th year-over-year gain in housing prices since the end of the housing stimulus in 2010.

  • Home price rate of growth accelerated 0.3% month-over-month.
  • Home prices increased 12.4% year-over-year.
  • The market had expected a year-over-year increase of 10% to 12% (versus the 12.4% reported).

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 3 Month Average (red line, right axis)

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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 Case Shiller and CoreLogic 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 3 Month Average (red bar)

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There are some differences between the indices on the rate of “recovery” of home prices. However, the trend for over a year has 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 a slowing of pace.

Home prices gains are holding their 12% annual rate of gain established by the two Composite indices in April. The Southwest continues to lead the housing recovery. Las Vegas home prices are up 27.5% year-over-year; in California, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego are up 24.8%, 20.8% and 20.4% respectively. However, all remain far below their peak levels.

Since April 2013, all 20 cities are up month to month; however, the monthly rates of price gains have declined. More cities are experiencing slow gains each month than the previous month, suggesting that the rate of increase may have peaked.

Following the increase in mortgage rates beginning last May, applications for mortgages have dropped, suggesting that rising interest rates are affecting housing. The Fed’s announcement last week that QE3 bond buying will continue for the time being may have only a limited, though favorable,impact on housing.

CoreLogic suggests home price recovery will slow (July Data). Per Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic:

Home prices continued to surge in July. Looking ahead to the second half of the year, price growth is expected to slow as seasonal demand wanes and higher mortgage rates have a marginal impact on home purchase demand.

Home prices continue to climb across the nation in July with markets hit hardest during the downturn leading the way. Nationally, home prices are now within 18 percent of their peak levels reached in April of 2006.

The National Association of Realtors believes the market has peaked (August 2013 data). Per Lawrence Yun , NAR chief economist:

The market may be experiencing a temporary peak. Rising mortgage interest rates pushed more buyers to close deals, but monthly sales are likely to be uneven in the months ahead from several market frictions,” he said.  “Tight inventory is limiting choices in many areas, higher mortgage interest rates mean affordability isn’t as favorable as it was, and restrictive mortgage lending standards are keeping some otherwise qualified buyers from completing a purchase.

Lender Processing Services (LPS) July 2013 home price index up 0.6% for the Month; Up 8.7% 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)

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

Related Articles

All Analysis Blog Articles on Housing Sales and Prices

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