Monday, October 05, 2009

All Eyes on The Radar

Now that summer has drawn to a close, it’s important that all spectators of residential real estate draw a bead on the Radar Logic home prices indices.

Arguably the two best features of the Radar Logic indices is that they are published daily and that they seek to capture the dynamics of the literal, unadjusted, spot price for a given metro markets residential real estate on a price per square foot basis.

In this way the data is both more timely (…though it still has a 60 day lag) and more literally reflective of the current state of residential real estate prices than other popular series that publish only monthly and employ smoothing techniques.

As I have pointed out in prior posts, this year’s typical seasonal bounce was exceptional in many markets due in part because of the government’s $8000 homebuyer tax handout.

But now that both the typical seasonal movement and simulative effects of the government giveaway are starting to wane, we will see most regional markets head back down to the lows resulting in a significant disappointment for housing bulls.

The following lists overall types of price movement to watch for this fall:

Typically seasonal markets that, having peaked in August, will now see prices head south till February 2010. The key is to watch these markets to see if they will set a new decisive low in winter. These markets are Denver, Cleveland, Boston, Atlanta, Columbus, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Seattle, Charlotte and Chicago.

The “Super Bubble” Metros that, having dropped over 50%, appeared to have hit a bit of support until recently. Now, these regional markets look to be headed lower again and any notable move below their recent lows will surely indicate that recovery is nowhere in sight. These markets are Phoenix, Las Vegas, Tampa, Jacksonville, San Diego, San Francisco, Miami, Los Angeles, Sacramento and San Jose.

The east-coast major metros that, having stayed exceptionally buoyant through the housing crisis, now appear poised for a significant new leg down. These markets are New York, Philadelphia and Washington DC.

Finally there is Detroit… currently priced well below the level seen in 2000, Detroit appears to have peaked for the season and is headed back down to the lows. So goes Detroit…