The Case/Shiller housing index showed signs of improvement as the index posted its first month over month climb in over two years. Year over year figures are still showing sharp declines with the latest reading at -17.2%. While this is good news it’s likely that seasonal strength in housing is playing a large role. The real test in the housing market will come in the 3rd and 4th quarter when the seasonal buyers are no longer influencing the market quite as much. As for now we appear to be experiencing a fairly standard post bubble price discovery process. My guess is we are pausing in here before prices continue their declines into the end of the year and beginning of 2010.
On the consumer side, we continue to get weak data. Not only was consumer confidence below expectations, but the ICSC same store sales data showed a 0.5% year over year decline and the Redbook data showed another sharp decline of -5.5%.
The market is responding quite negatively to the overall data. The rally is certainly beginning to look tired.