Monday, April 27, 2009

More Pain, No Gain: S&P/Case-Shiller Preview for February 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 February 23 appears to indicate that price declines are continuing in nearly every market with some markets accelerating notably.

Clearly, the impact of the recent stock market crash (that keeps on crashing) 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, and Miami 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.

Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York appear to be showing a slight bump up in prices on a month-to-month basis but still remain significantly below each series respective 2008 level. It’s important to note that both the S&P/Case-Shiller and RPX data is NOT seasonally adjusted so in all likelihood these regions are just experiencing a little pause in the decline coming from the spring sales volume pickup.

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 for Chicago and Boston, prices are clearly trending lower.

Washington DC continues to be a nearly perfect examples of a market that has 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.