Tags: Naroff | Case-Shiller | FHFA | housing

No Matter What Measure You Use, Housing Prices Are Rising

Tuesday, 25 September 2012 11:19 AM

INDICATOR: July S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index/July Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) House Price Index

KEY DATA: S&P/Case-Shiller 20 City: Up 0.4 percent; Year-Over-Year: Up 1.2 percent/FHFA: Up 0.2 percent; Year-Over-Year: Up 3.7 percent

IN A NUTSHELL: “The rise in home prices across the nation reinforces the view that housing is now leading rather than restraining the economy.”

WHAT IT MEANS: The housing market is going from worst to first. That is a lot better than my Phillies, who have gone in the opposite direction this season, but don’t get me started on that.

Anyway, we have seen home construction and new home sales soar by 20 percent this year, while existing housing demand is up by over 7 percent. All this increase in activity is leading to a rebound in housing prices.

The July S&P/Case-Shiller index is confirming that the price increases are broadly based. For the third month in a row, every metropolitan area posted a monthly rise, and in July, 15 of the 20 regions showed a year-over-year rise.

A similar monthly increase was seen in the FHFA House Price Index, and the increase over the year was a little larger. In this report, six of the nine regions posted monthly gains, while seven of the nine were up over the year.

These two indices joined the National Association of Realtors price measure, which also showed that prices are moving upward.

MARKETS AND FED POLICY IMPLICATIONS: Despite issues with appraisals, lending standards and a lack of equity, housing is coming back. No matter what measure you use, prices are rising.

The market is six years past its peak, so I guess we can say that it is about time. But you don’t turnaround a sector that bubbled and collapsed very quickly. Remember, we are still 40 percent below the Nasdaq high hit during the dot.com bubble, and that was hit over 12 years ago.

But the recovery is under way, and that bodes well for future economic growth, as housing supports lots of jobs and generates major increases in income.

With the Fed intent on getting mortgage rates down a lot more, the outlook for housing is about as good as you can get given the hurdles it faces. Still, this is a slow process and as levels rise, percentage changes will moderate.

Regardless, investors should take the housing numbers to heart and realize that the economy is hardly as weak as some believe or argue.

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The rise in home prices across the nation reinforces the view that housing is now leading rather than restraining the economy.
Tuesday, 25 September 2012 11:19 AM
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