As expected in our housing outlook earlier this year the housing market has succumbed to the lack of real demand, supply pressures and negative seasonal trends in Q4. The latest Case Shiller data confirms that the housing double dip is upon us. The question now is how severe will the second leg down be and will it meaningfully impact the economy? I’ll be updating my housing outlook the first weeks of 2011. This morning’s Case Shiller report is attached (via S&P):
“Data through October 2010, released today by Standard & Poor’s for its S&P/Case-Shiller1 Home Price Indices, the leading measure of U.S. home prices, show a deceleration in the annual growth rates in 18 of the 20 MSAs and the 10- and 20-City Composites in October compared to what was reported for September 2010. The 10-City Composite was up only 0.2% and the 20-City Composite fell 0.8% from their levels in October 2009. Home prices decreased in all 20 MSAs and both Composites in October from their September levels. In October, only the 10-City Composite and four MSAs – Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and Washington DC – showed year-over-year gains. While the composite housing prices are still above their spring 2009 lows, six markets – Atlanta, Charlotte, Miami, Portland (OR), Seattle and Tampa – hit their lowest levels since home prices started to fall in 2006 and 2007, meaning that average home prices in those markets have fallen beyond the recent lows seen in most other markets in the spring of 2009.”
The chart above depicts the annual returns of the 10-City and the 20-City Composite Home Price Indices. In October 2010, the 10-City and 20-City Composites recorded annual returns of +0.2% and -0.8%, respectively. October was the fifth consecutive month where the annual growth rates moderated from their prior month’s pace, confirming a clear deceleration in home price returns. The 10-City Composite posted a +0.2% annual growth rate in October, versus the +5.4% reported five months prior in May, and the 20-City Composite has now reentered negative territory, down 0.8% in October versus its +4.6% May print.
“The double-dip is almost here, as six cities set new lows for the period since the 2006 peaks. There is no good news in October’s report. Home prices across the country continue to fall.” says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at Standard & Poor’s. “The trends we have seen over the past few months have not changed. The tax incentives are over and the national economy remained lackluster in October, the month covered by these data. Existing homes sales and housing starts have been reported for both October and November, and neither is giving any sense of optimism. On a year-over-year basis, sales are down more than 25% and the months’ supply of unsold homes is about 50% above where it was during the same months of last year. Housing starts are still hovering near 30-year lows. While delinquency rates might have seen some recent improvement, it is only on a relative basis. They are still well above their historic averages, in both the prime and sub-prime markets.
“Looking at the monthly statistics, all 20 MSAs and both Composites were down in October over September. While not always consecutive months, twelve of the MSAs and both composites have posted at least six months of decline since the beginning of 2010. In addition 15 MSAs and both composites have posted three consecutive months of decline with October’s report; a further sign that the few months of positive print earlier this spring were only a temporary boost. The seasonally adjusted data tell largely the same story.”
Mr. Roche is the Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Discipline Funds.Discipline Funds is a low fee financial advisory firm with a focus on helping people be more disciplined with their finances.
He is also the author of Pragmatic Capitalism: What Every Investor Needs to Understand About Money and Finance, Understanding the Modern Monetary System and Understanding Modern Portfolio Construction.