If even one of the sales and price reports that are released were accurate, the world would be a better place. The best that can be said about them, whether from the federal government or the National Association of Realtors, is they might possibly be useful in perceiving trends.
Case-Shiller has problems for anyone living in the heart of a city. Its reports cover whole metropolitan regions; for example, the New York figures cover Manhattan, Queens, Westchester and suburban New Jersey, which couldn’t be more disparate. Moreover, the indices unapologetically ignore the sale of apartments.
Yesterday, the S&P/Case-Shiller National Home Price Index posted an 8.9 percent decline in the third quarter versus the third quarter last year. It was, the company said, a “marked improvement” over the 14.7 percent decline in the annual rate of return in the second quarter of 2009 and the 19.0 percent drop in the first quarter.
But the New York Times noted today that the housing recovery’s momentum was slowing.