Home Prices Seasonally Higher: "Showed Mixed Signals"

by devteam August 31st, 2011 | Share

Home prices pulled, at least temporarily, out of theirrndownward spiral according to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices (HPI)</areleased on Tuesday.  The National Index rosern3.6 percent in the second quarter of 2011, increasing in each of the threernmonths of the quarter following the first quarter when the index fell 4.1rnpercent.  S&P, however, attributesrnthe recent improvement to seasonal market forces and, when seasonally adjusted,rnthe increase is only 0.1 percent.  ThernNational Index had hit a new low in the first quarter and, even with the secondrnquarter improvement posted an annual decline of 5.9 percent when compared tornthe second quarter of 2010.</p

The S&P Indices are constructed to accurately track thernprice of a typical single-family home. rnThe National Index is a composite of home prices in the nine U.S. Censusrndivisions and is calculated quarterly. rnThe 10-City Index is a value-weighted composite of 10 metropolitanrnstatistical area (MSAs) indices and the 20-City Index covers 20 MSAs. Thesernindices are calculated monthly. The indices were assigned a base value of 100rnin January 2000, thus a current index value of 150 means a typical house hasrnincreased in value by 50 percent since the index was constructed.  The indices have now returned to 2003 levels.</p

At the end of June both the 10- and 20-City composites werernup 1.1 percent from May and all of the MSAs increased except for PortlandrnOregon which was essentially unchanged.   On a non-seasonally adjusted basis,rnMinneapolis and Chicago showed the largest increases with each up 3.2 percent sincernMay.  Twelve of the 20 MSAs increased inrneach of the last three months. </p

Both compositernindices were down when compared to numbers one year earlier. The 10- andrn20-City Composites posted annual rates of decline of 3.8 percent and 4.5rnpercent respectively.  Every MSA declinedrnwhen compared to June 2010 with the largest drop recorded by Minneapolis (-10.8rnpercent) followed by Portland (-9.6 percent) and Phoenix (-9.3 percent.)  The smallest annual decrease was experiencedrnby Washington DC (-1.2 percent), Boston (-2.1 percent) and Denver (-2.5). </p

“This month’s report showed mixed signals for recovery inrnhome prices,” David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&PrnIndices said.  “Looking across therncities, eight bottomed in 2009 and have remained above their lows.  These include all of the California citiesrnplus Dallas, Denver, and Washington, DC, all relatively strong markets.  At the other extreme, those which set newrnlows in 2011 include the four Sunbelt cities – Las Vegas, Miami, Phoenix andrnTampa – as well as the weakest of all, Detroit. rnThese shifts suggest that we are back to regional housing markets,rnrather than a national housing market where everything rose and fell together.”</p

S&P said that the June report as well as the onernpublished last month showed unusually large revisions across the same MSAs,rnDetroit, New York, Tampa, and Washington DC, and they expect the currentrnfigures to experience similar revisions. rnThere are a number of factors contributing to these revisions, most ofrnthem leading to lags in recording deeds.

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