Data firm takes a dimmer view of future market

First American CoreLogic says it expects a softer housing recovery than in its previous forecasts.  The mortgage data firm, which issues a monthly LoanPerformance Home Price Index (HPI), declared:

Our forecasts for the inventory of homes for sale have risen as interest rates are expected to rise, tax credits expire, and slower than expected sales over the winter due to the weather are all adding to the inventory. Collectively these effects act to contract demand (put downward pressure on prices).

After a modest increase this spring and summer, CoreLogic projects a decline in the national single-family combined index of Continue reading

New Yorkers can ignore latest housing statistics

Case-Shiller Home Price Levels. Click to expand and see other graphics.

In fact, New Yorkers and residents of other dense urban centers always can pay little heed to the monthly report of housing data from Case-Shiller or any other single sources of information.

Their one virtue is to examine a dated snapshot of the national housing market, excluding areas such as the Big Apple, where few single-home sales occur.  Case-Shiller leaves out apartment sales and its reports embrace whole Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs). In addition, the sample of 10 or 20 cities is suspect in my layman’s eyes.

Manhattan by gemini spy on Flickr.

In the case of Manhattan, the MSA covers all the boroughs plus suburban New Jersey and Westchester County. And as everyone knows, the percentage of single-family home sales in the borough never reaches beyond the lowest digits.

I suppose investors and others who might be looking, unreasonably, at the national market for trends in the biggest cities can benefit from glancing at the numbers. But using those statistics for anything greater than a very rough gauge of what is or, worse, will be occurring in a given market is pure folly.

All that said, you may well be able to enliven your cocktail chatter by knowing Continue reading

Does CoreLogic believe the glass is half empty?

As of September 2009, says First American CoreLogic, there was an estimated 1.7‐million‐unit pending supply of residential housing inventory, up from 1.1 million a year earlier.

Sometimes referred to as “shadow” inventory, the pending supply is 3.3 months, up from 2.4 months a year ago.

The “visible”  supply of unsold inventory was 3.8 million units in September 2009, down from 4.7 million a year earlier. It fell to 7.8 months in September 2009, down from 10.1 months a year earlier. Continue reading

October prices drop in year, may bottom in March

National home prices, including distressed sales, declined by -7.8 percent in October 2009 compared with October 2008, according to First American CoreLogic and its LoanPerformance Home Price Index (HPI). Continue reading

Many experts are hovering around a crystal ball

When it comes to predicting the direction of the housing market, there is no shortage of opinions.  Below you’ll find excerpts from “The Soothsayers” section of my forthcoming e-newsletter,  Realty Digest, which I write every two weeks.  My next newsletter will be issued around noon on Friday, Nov. 4.

Take your pick from the excerpts, draw your own conclusions and forward your comments to this blog:

Thanks to "spratmackrel" for this image

  • Housing starts will increase by 36 percent next year and the housing sector will contribute to economic growth for the first time since 2005, according to the November survey by the National Association of Business Economics.
  • First American CoreLogic predicts continued declines in most markets, albeit at a slowing rate, for the next six months, followed by a rebound in the spring.
  • Harvard economist Edward Glaeser doesn’t foresee property values rising to previous levels even in attractive locales. “The harsh reality is that real estate prices that go up come down. I’ve found that for every real $1 increase in local market prices over a five-year period, prices go down 32¢ over the following five years,” Glaeser says. Continue reading

Most price declines are ‘behind us,’ say analysts

Analyzing trend data from First American CoreLogic and the Federal Housing Finance Administration, PMI Mortgage Insurance reports in its latest Housing Market Mortgage Review “that the bulk of the home price declines are behind us.”  It continues:

“. . . Both also suggest that house prices have still not reached their long-term trend levels.”

As with other goods and services, house prices depend on demand and supply.  Over a long period of time, however, the growth rate in home prices should conform to income growth – otherwise houses would become either increasingly unaffordable or more affordable, PMI observes, adding that over long periods, home price growth and income growth tend to be similar.

The data are shown in the charts below.  The first one shows CoreLogic’s Home Price Index (HPI), while the second graphs  actual levels of the HPI through July 2009, as well as the long-term trend based on the 1983-2001 house price data.  And the third charts the same relationships for the FHFA purchase-only HPI.

This stuff ain’t easily digestible, but it’s good for you.  Like carrots and leafy vegetables.  The explanation that follows the charts is worth reading and can well make clear what you’re seeing.

pmi chart 1 Continue reading