Monday, March 30, 2009

More Pain, No Gain: S&P/Case-Shiller Preview for January 2009

As I had noted in a prior post, given their strong correlation, the home price indices provided daily by Radar Logic can be effectively used as a preview of the more popular monthly S&P/Case-Shiller home price indices.

The current Radar Logic data reported on residential real estate transactions (condos, multi and single family homes) that settled as late as January 26 appears to indicate that price declines are continuing in every market while accelerating notably in some.

Clearly, the impact of the recent stock market crash and ongoing economic crisis is bearing down on both consumer sentiment and, more fundamentally, credit availability resulting in a significant pullback in spending on homes and other costly purchases.

As the economic fallout continues, look for more markets to experience a reacceleration of price declines.

Phoenix, Miami, San Francisco, and Los Angeles are clearly continuing their historic price slide as the number of distressed sales climb and buyer sentiment relents under the weight of the recessionary conditions.

Boston, Denver and Chicago all appear to be following the typical seasonal pattern of increasing prices during the high transaction months of the spring and early summer and price declines during the fall and winter but it is important to note that prices are clearly trending and even, most notably for Boston, accelerating lower.

The Washington DC and New York regions are nearly perfect examples of markets that have broken down under the strain of the housing bust and wider economic turmoil showing consistent price declines throughout spring and summer months where normally strong seasonal sales patterns typically brings increasing prices.