The latest Case-Shiller Index shows the month-over-month trend in housing prices improving. From Standard and Poor's release:
The chart above depicts the annual returns of the U.S. National, the 10-City Composite and the 20-City Composite Home Price Indices. The S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index – which covers all nine U.S. census divisions – recorded a 14.9% decline in the 2nd quarter of 2009 versus the 2nd quarter of 2008. While still a substantial negative annual rate of return, this is an improvement over the record decline of 19.1% reported in the 1st quarter of the year. The 10-City and 20-City Composites recorded annual declines of 15.1% and 15.4%, respectively. These are also improvements from their recent respective record losses of -19.4% and -19.1%.
“For the second month in a row, we’re seeing some positive signs,” says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at Standard & Poor’s. “The U.S. National Composite rose in the 2nd quarter compared to the 1st quarter of 2009. This is the first time we have seen a positive quarter-over-quarter print in three years. Both the 10-City and 20-City Composites posted monthly increases, as did most of the cities.
So does this mean housing prices have bottomed out? Calculated Risk doesn't think so:
In some areas prices have probably already hit bottom - like some non-bubble areas, and some bubble areas with significant foreclosure activity.
But I think many areas, especially the mid-to-high priced bubble areas, there will be further price declines. I'm not as certain as I was in 2005, but I think these price declines will drag down the Case-Shiller indexes - and I don't think the price bottom is in.
I do not have a crystal ball, but ...
It seems there are many more foreclosures coming. Some of this depends on the success of the modification programs, but the Q2 MBA delinquency report shows a growing number of homeowners in the problem pipeline.
Read the full Calculated Risk post here.