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  • Case Shiller: Home Prices Continue to Rise, But Gains Slow

    Home prices continued to rise in March, but as has been the case all year, the rate of growth was rather modest. According to the latest Case-Shiller Home Price Indices release, prices rose 0.8% in the 10-city composite, and 0.9% in the 20-city composite. For the first quarter, the national index rose only 0.2%. Year-over-year the 10-city composite index came in at 12.6% while the 20-city composite was at 12.4%. From the release: “The year-over-year changes suggest that prices are rising more slowly,” says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “Annual price increases for the two Composites have slowed in the last four months and 13 cities saw annual price changes moderate in March. The National Index also showed decelerating gains in the last quarter. Among those markets seeing substantial slowdowns in price gains were some of the leading boom-bust markets including Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Francisco and Tampa. “Despite signs of decelerating prices, all cities were higher than a year ago and all but New York were higher in March than in February. However, only Denver and Dallas have set new post-crisis highs and they experienced relatively lower peak levels than other cities. Four locations are fairly close to their previous highs: Boston (8%), Charlotte (9%), Portland (13%) and San Francisco (15%). “Housing indicators remain mixed. April housing starts recovered the drop in March but virtually all the gain was in apartment construction, not single family homes. New home sales also rebounded from recent weakness but remain soft. Mortgage rates are near a seven month low but recent comments from the Fed point to bank lending standards as a problem. Other comments include arguments that student loan debt is preventing many potential first time buyers from entering the housing market.” Read the full release here .
  • Home Prices Not Showing Much Promise as Economic Engine

    Home prices had trouble gaining momentum in most major US markets in February, according to the latest Case-Shiller Home Price Indices release. Thirteen of the 20 cities saw declines in growth rates in February. Cleveland led the way with a 1.6% decline. Year-over-year the 10-city composite index came in at 13.1% while the 20-city composite was at 12.9%. From the release: “Prices remained steady from January to February for the two Composite indices,” says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “The annual rates cooled the most we’ve seen in some time. The three California cities and Las Vegas have the strongest increases over the last 12 months as the West continues to lead. Denver and Dallas remain the only cities which have reached new post-crisis price peaks. The Northeast with New York, Washington and Boston are seeing some of the slowest year-over-year gains. However, even there prices are above their levels of early 2013. On a month-to-month basis, there is clear weakness. Seasonally adjusted data show prices rose in 19 cities, but a majority at a slower pace than in January. “Despite continued price gains, most other housing statistics are weak. Sales of both new and existing homes are flat to down. The recovery in housing starts, now less than one million units at annual rates, is faltering. Moreover, home prices nationally have not made it back to 2005. Mortgage interest rates, which jumped in May last year and are steady since then, are blamed by some analysts for the weakness. Others cite difficulties in qualifying for loans and concerns about consumer confidence. The result is less demand and fewer homes being built. “Five years into the recovery from the recession, the economy will need to look to gains in consumer spending and business investment more than housing. Long overdue activity in residential construction would be welcome, but is certainly not assured.” Read the full release here .
  • Case-Shiller Home Price Indices Flatten Out

    The latest Case-Shiller Home Price Indices release is out, and if you look at the data through a narrow lens, things don't look so great. Average home prices dropped 0.1% for the Case-Shiller 20-city composite in January. Twelve cities saw declines in prices, with Chicago leading the way at -1.2%. But if you zoom out a little, the picture looks a lot different. Prices were up 13.5% for the 10-city composite and 13.2% for the 20-city composite. Here's a look at the long term trend: Overall, it was a strong year. From the release: “The housing recovery may have taken a breather due to the cold weather,” says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “Twelve cities reported declining prices in January vs. December; eight of those were worse than the month before. From the bottom in 2012, prices are up 23% and the housing market is showing signs of moving forward with more normal price increases. “The Sun Belt showed the five highest monthly returns. Las Vegas was the leader with an increase of 1.1% followed by Miami at +0.7%. San Diego showed its best January performance of 0.6% since 2004. San Francisco and Tampa trailed closely at +0.5% and +0.4%. Elsewhere, New York and Washington D.C. stood out as they continued to improve and posted their highest year-over-year returns since 2006. Dallas and Denver are the only cities to have reached new record peaks while Detroit remains the only city with home prices below those of 14 years ago. “Expectations and recent data point to continued home price gains for 2014. Although most analysts do not expect the same rapid increases we saw last year, the consensus is for moderating gains. Existing home sales declined slightly in February and are at their lowest level since July 2012.” Read the full release here .
  • Case Shiller: Home Prices Lose Momentum in December But 2013 Best Year Since 2005

    After a steady rise through the fall, home prices were flat in December, according to the latest Case-Shiller Home Price Indices release. For the month, average home prices dropped 0.1% for the Case-Shiller 20-city composite and were unchanged for the 10-city composite. The year-over-year data is much more promising, as prices were up 13.6% for the 10-city composite and 13.4% for the 20-city composite. Here's a look at the long term trend: Overall, it was a strong year. From the release: “The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index ended its best year since 2005,” says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “However, gains are slowing from month-to-month and the strongest part of the recovery in home values may be over. Year-over-year values for the two monthly Composites weakened and the quarterly National Index barely improved. The seasonally adjusted data also exhibit some softness and loss of momentum. After 26 months of consecutive gains, Phoenix posted -0.3% for the month of December, its largest decline since March 2011. Phoenix once led the recovery from the bottom in 2012, but Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Francisco were the top three performing cities of 2013 with gains of over 20%. The Sun Belt, with the exception of Dallas, Miami and Tampa, saw lower annual rates in December when compared to their November numbers. The six cities with the highest year-over-year figures saw their rates decline (Las Vegas, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Atlanta, San Diego and Detroit) and most cities ranked at the bottom improved (Denver, Washington and New York) – Charlotte and Cleveland were the two exceptions. “Recent economic reports suggest a bleaker picture for housing. Existing home sales fell 5.1% in January from December to the slowest pace in over a year. Permits for new residential construction and housing starts were both down and below expectations. Some of the weakness reflects the cold weather in much of the country. However, higher home prices and mortgage rates are taking a toll on affordability. Mortgage default rates, as shown by the S&P/Experian Consumer Credit Default Index, are back to their pre-crisis levels but bank lending standards remain strict.” Read the full release here .
  • Case-Shiller: House Prices Drop Slightly in November, But Year-Over-Year Gains Remain Strong

    Home prices dropped slightly in November, dropping 0.1% from October according to the latest Case-Shiller Home Price Indices release. But they were up significantly from November 2013. Year-over-year, the Case Shiller 10-city composite rose 13.7%, while the 20-city composite rose 13.8%. Here's a look at the long term trend: From the release: “November was a good month for home prices,” says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “Despite the slight decline, the 10-City and 20- City Composites showed their best November performance since 2005. Prices typically weaken as we move closer to the winter. Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Phoenix stand out as they have posted 20 or more consecutive monthly gains.” “Beginning June 2012, we saw a steady rise in year-over-year increases. November continued that trend with another strong month although the rate of increase slowed. Looking at the year-over-year returns, the Sun Belt continues to push ahead with Atlanta, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco and Tampa taking eight of the top nine spots. Detroit continues to recover but remains the only city with prices below its 2000 level.” “Home prices continue to rise despite last May’s jump in mortgage interest rates. Mortgage applications for purchase were up in recent weeks confirming home builders’ optimism shown by the NAHB survey. Combined with low inflation -- 1.5% in 2013-- home owners are enjoying real appreciation and rising equity values. While housing will make further contributions to the economy in 2014, the pace of price gains is likely to slow during the year.” Read the full release here .
  • Case-Shiller: Home Prices Gain For 17th Straight Month

    Home prices posted a year-over-year gain of 13.6% in October, according to the latest Case-Shiller Home Price Indices release. That's the highest year-over-year gain since February 2006. The monthly gain was not as impressive. For the month of October, average home prices rose 0.2% for the Case-Shiller 10-city composite and the 20 city composite, compared with 0.7% in September. Only Phoenix posted a stronger gain in October than in September. Here's a look at the long term trend: From the release: “Home prices increased again in October,” says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “Both Composites’ annual returns have been in double-digit territory since March 2013 and increasing; now up 13.6% in the year ending in October. However, monthly numbers show we are living on borrowed time and the boom is fading. “The year-over-year figures increased slightly from last month. Thirteen cities and both Composites posted double-digit annual returns. Cities at the top of the range (Las Vegas, San Diego and San Francisco) saw smaller annual increases. On the other hand, cities that have been relatively underperforming (Cleveland, New York and Washington) saw their annual gains grow. Miami showed the most improvement. Chicago recorded its highest annual rate (+10.9%) since December 1988. Charlotte and Dallas posted annual increases of 8.8% and 9.7%, their highest since the inception of their indices in 1987 and 2000. “The key economic question facing housing is the Fed’s future course to scale back quantitative easing and how this will affect mortgage rates. Other housing data paint a mixed picture suggesting that we may be close to the peak gains in prices. However, other economic data point to somewhat faster growth in the new year. Most forecasts for home prices point to single digit growth in 2014.” Read the full release here .
  • Existing Home Sales Drop for Third Month in a Row

    Existing home sales declined again in November. The seasonally adjusted annual rate of sales came in at 4.90 million, representing a 4.3% drop from October, according to the National Association of Realtors . Sales were 1.2% lower than November 2012 (4.96 million units). NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun says that limited housing supply, and not lack of demand, remains a key factor in low sales. From the NAR report: First-time buyers accounted for 28 percent of purchases in November, unchanged from October; they were 30 percent in November 2012. All-cash sales comprised 32 percent of transactions in November, up from 31 percent in October and 30 percent in November 2012. Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 19 percent of homes in November, unchanged from October and from November 2012. Last month, seven out of 10 investors paid cash. Single-family home sales fell 3.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.32 million in November from 4.49 million in October, and are 0.9 percent below the 4.36 million-unit level in November 2012. The median existing single-family home price was $196,200 in November, which is 9.4 percent above a year ago. Existing condominium and co-op sales dropped 7.9 percent to an annual rate of 580,000 units in November from 630,000 units in October, and are 3.3 percent lower than the 600,000-unit pace a year ago. The median existing condo price was $197,400 in November, up 10.0 percent from November 2012. Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast declined 3.0 percent to an annual rate of 650,000 in November, but are 6.6 percent above November 2012. The median price in the Northeast was $242,900, up 5.7 percent from a year ago. Existing-home sales in the Midwest fell 4.1 percent in November to a pace of 1.17 million, but are unchanged from a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $151,100, which is 6.7 percent higher than November 2012. In the South, existing-home sales declined 2.4 percent to an annual level of 2.01 million in November, but are 1.0 percent above November 2012. The median price in the South was $168,700, up 7.7 percent from a year ago. Existing-home sales in the West dropped 8.5 percent to a pace of 1.07 million in November, and are 10.1 percent below a year ago, in part from constrained inventory conditions. The median price in the West was $284,400, up 16.5 percent from November 2012. Read the full release here .
  • Case-Shiller: National Home Price Index Sees Double Digit Rise Over Four Quarters

    Home prices have risen 11.2% over the last four quarters, with a 3.2% increase in the third quarter alone, according to the latest Case-Shiller Home Price Indices release. For the month of September, average home prices rose 0.7% for the Case-Shiller 10-city composite and the 20 city composite. On an annual basis, prices rose 13.3% for both composites. The monthly growth rate slowed in September, as 19 of the 20 cities in the index saw a lower growth rate, and Minneapolis's rate remained at 0.8%. Here's a look at the long term trend: From the release: “The second and third quarters of 2013 were very good for home prices,” says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “The National Index is up 11.2% year- over-year, the strongest figure since the boom peaked in 2006. The 10-City and 20-City Composites year-over-year growth at 13.3% was their highest annual numbers since February 2006. “Twelve cities posted double-digit annual returns. Regionally, the West continues to lead with Las Vegas gaining 29.1% year-over-year followed by San Francisco at 25.7%, Los Angeles at 21.8% and San Diego at 20.9%. San Francisco and Los Angeles showed their highest annual returns since March 2001 and December 2005. Although Chicago has not reached double-digit growth, the city recorded its highest year-over-year gain since November 2005. “The strong price gains in the West are sparking questions and concerns about the possibility of another bubble. However the talk is focused on fear of a bubble, not a rush to join the party and buy. Moreover, other data suggest a market beginning to shift to slower growth rather than one about to accelerate. Existing home sales weakened in the most recent report, home construction remains far below the boom levels of six or seven years ago and interest rates are expected to be higher a year from now. “Housing continues to emerge from the financial crisis: the proportion of homes in foreclosure is declining and consumers’ balance sheets are strengthening. The longer run question is whether household formation continues to recover and if home ownership will return to the peak levels seen in 2004.” Read the full release here .
  • Case Shiller: Home Prices Continue Steady Rise

    Home prices kept rising in July, but at a slower rate than previous months, according to the latest Case-Shiller Home Price Indices release. Average home prices rose 1.9% for the Case-Shiller 10-city composite and 1.8% for the 20 city composites. On an annual basis, prices rose 12.3% for the 10-city composite index and 12.4% for the 20-city composite. Prices rose in all 20 top metro areas, with Chicago, Atlanta, and Detroit all posting monthly growth above 3%. Here's a look at the long term trend: From the release: “Home prices gains are holding their 12% annual rate of gain established by the two Composite indices in April,” says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “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.” Read the full release here .
  • Case Shiller: 'Housing prices rising but the pace may be slowing"

    Home prices continued to rise in June, though at a slightly slower pace than previous months, according to the latest Case-Shiller Home Price Indices release. Average home prices rose 2.2% for the Case-Shiller 10-city and 20 city composites. On an annual basis, prices rose 11.9% for the 10-city composite index and 12.1% for the 20-city composite. Prices rose in all 20 top metro areas, with Atlanta, Las Vegas, San Diego, and San Francisco all posting monthly growth at or above 2.7%. Here's a look at the long term trend: From the release: “National home prices rose more than 10% annually in each of the last two quarters,” says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “However, the monthly city by city data show the pace of price increases is moderating. “The Southwest and California have consistently led the recovery with Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix and San Francisco posting at least 15 months of gains. Looking at the cities, New York recorded its highest monthly return since 2002. Atlanta was up the most at +3.4% and Washington DC had the lowest return at +1.0%. In terms of annual rates of change, San Francisco lost its leadership position with Las Vegas showing the highest post-recession gain of 24.9%. “Overall, the report shows that housing prices are rising but the pace may be slowing. Thirteen out of twenty cities saw their returns weaken from May to June. As we are in the middle of a seasonal buying period, we should expect to see the most gains. With interest rates rising to almost 4.6%, home buyers may be discouraged and sharp increases may be dampened. “Other housing news is positive, but not as robust as last spring. Starts and sales of new homes continue to lag the stronger pace set by existing homes. Despite recent increases in mortgage interest rates, affordability is still good as credit qualifications have eased somewhat.” Read the full release here .
  • Case Shiller: Home Prices Continue Steady Climb Across the U.S.

    Home prices continued to rise in May, according to the latest Case-Shiller Home Price Indices release. On an annual basis, prices rose 11.8% for the 10-city composite index and 12.2% for the 20-city composite--the largest increase since March 2006. Average home prices rose 2.5% and 2.4% for the Case-Shiller 10-city and 20 city composites. Prices rose in all 20 top metro areas, with Dallas and Denver reaching new all-time highs in home prices. Here's a look at the long term trend: From the release: “Home prices continue to strengthen,” says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “Two cities set new highs, surpassing their pre-crisis levels and five cities – Atlanta, Chicago, San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle – posted monthly gains of over three percent, also a first time event. “The Southwest and the West saw the strongest year-over-year gains as San Francisco home prices rose 24.5% followed by Las Vegas (+23.3%) and Phoenix (+20.6%). New York (+3.3%), Cleveland (+3.4%) and Washington DC (+6.5%) were the weakest. Monthly numbers before seasonal adjustment showed all 20 cities experienced rising prices. San Francisco (+4.3%), Chicago (+3.7%) and Atlanta (+3.4%) were the leaders. However, two cities – Cleveland and Minneapolis were down slightly after seasonal adjustment. “The overall report points to some shifts among various markets: Washington DC is no longer the standout leader and the eastern Sunbelt cities, Miami and Tampa, are lagging behind their western counterparts.” Read the full release here .
  • Case-Shiller: Record Gains in Home Prices

    April was a record month for gains in home prices, according to the latest Case-Shiller Home Price Indices release. On an annual basis, prices rose 11.6% for the 10-city composite index and 12.1% for the 20-city composite. That is the largest year-over-year growth since April, 2006. Average home prices rose 2.6% and 2.5% for the Case-Shiller 10-city and 20 city composites. Prices rose in all 20 top metro areas, with Atlanta, Dallas, Detroit, and Minneapolis showing the biggest annual increases. Here's a look at the long term trend: From the release: “The 10- and 20-City Composites posted their highest monthly gains in the history of S&P/CaseShiller Home Price Indices,” says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “Thirteen cities posted monthly increases of over two percentage points, with San Francisco leading at 4.9%. “The recovery is definitely broad based. The two Composites showed the largest year-over-year gains in seven years. Atlanta, Las Vegas, Phoenix and San Francisco posted year-over-year gains of over 20% in April. San Francisco was the highest at 23.9%. Phoenix posted 12 consecutive months of double-digit growth. Recent economic data on home sales and inventories confirm the housing recovery’sstrength. “Last week’s comments from the Fed and the resulting sharp increase in Treasury yields sparked fears that rising mortgage rates will damage the housing rebound. Home buyers have survived rising mortgage rates in the past, often by shifting from fixed rate to adjustable rate loans. In the housing boom, bust and recovery, banks’ credit quality standards were more important than the level of mortgage rates. The most recent Fed Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey shows that some banks are easing credit restrictions. Given this, the recovery should continue.” Read the full release here .
  • The Economist Graphic Detail: Home Prices

    The Economist has a nice new interactive graph to help us see how housing prices have changed across the U.S. Naturally, we plugged in Las Vegas and Phoenix to see how puny (or, rather, less threatening) the recent rise in prices looks compared to the massive spike of the pre-crash bubble. As noted in a related article at The Economist, the recent rise in prices makes us naturally ask whether we are off to our old habit of inflating prices. JUST seven years after the biggest housing bubble in American history began to deflate, could another be inflating? Prices in a 20-city index compiled by CoreLogic Case-Shiller rose by 11% in the year to the end of March, and by more than 20% in Phoenix and Las Vegas, both cities at the centre of the housing collapse. Inventory is down: homes are selling in days, and often for more than the asking price. In Phoenix, bidding wars have broken out between would-be homeowners and investors paying cash. Americans once more see property as a winning asset. But to qualify as a bubble, an asset must not simply appreciate; it must decouple from its intrinsic value. For houses, The Economist each quarter compares the ratio of prices to household income and rents against their long-run average in 20 countries. We have now done the same for the 20 metropolitan areas in the Case-Shiller index. The verdict: in most markets houses are at or near their long-run values, but none looks bubbly. Read Bubble-hunting here . Click here to use the interactive graph .
  • Case-Shiller: Double Digit Annual Increases in Home Prices, Highest Growth Since 2006

    Home prices showed very strong growth in March, according to the latest Case-Shiller Home Price Indices release. On an annual basis, prices rose 10.3% for the 10-city composite index and 10.9% for the 20-city composite. That is the largest year-over-year growth since April, 2006. Average home prices rose 1.4% for the Case-Shiller 10-city and 20 city composite. Prices rose in all 20 top metro areas. Here's a look at the long term trend: From the release: “Home prices continued to climb,” says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “Home prices in all 20 cities posted annual gains for the third month in a row. Twelve of the 20 saw prices rise at double-digit annual growth. The National Index and the 10- and 20-City Composites posted their highest annual returns since 2006. “Phoenix again had the largest annual increase at 22.5% followed by San Francisco with 22.2% nd Las Vegas with 20.6%. Miami and Tampa, the eastern end of the Sunbelt, were softer with annual gains of 10.7% and 11.8%. The weakest annual price gains were seen in New York (+2.6%), Cleveland (+4.8%) and Boston (+6.7%); even these numbers are quite substantial. “Other housing market data reported in recent weeks confirm these strong trends: housing starts and permits, sales of new home and existing homes continue to trend higher. At the same time, the larger than usual share of multi-family housing, a large number of homes still in some stage of foreclosure and buying-to-rent by investors suggest that the housing recovery is not complete.” Read the full release here .
  • Case-Shiller: Housing Prices Keep Rising

    Home prices continued to climb in February, according to the latest Case-Shiller Home Price Indices release. Average home prices rose 0.4% for the Case-Shiller 10-city and 20 city composite. On an annual basis, prices rose 8.6% for the 10-city composite index and 9.3% for the 20-city composite. Prices rose in 16 of the 20 top metro areas. Here's a look at the long term trend: From the release: “Home prices continue to show solid increases across all 20 cities,” says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “The 10- and 20-City Composites recorded their highest annual growth rates since May 2006; seasonally adjusted monthly data show all 20 cities saw higher prices for two months in a row – the last time that happened was in early 2005. “Phoenix, San Francisco, Las Vegas and Atlanta were the four cities with the highest year-over-year price increases. Atlanta recovered from a wave of foreclosures in 2012 while the other three were among the hardest hit in the housing collapse. At the other end of the rankings, three older cities – New York, Boston and Chicago – saw the smallest year-over-year price improvements. “Despite some recent mixed economic reports for March, housing continues to be one of the brighter spots in the economy. The 2013 first quarter GDP report shows that residential investment accelerated from the 2012 fourth quarter and made a positive contribution to growth. One open question is the mix of single family and apartments; housing starts data show a larger than usual share is apartments.” Read the full release here .