Thursday, March 26, 2009

House Prices vs. PCE

by Bill McBride on 3/26/2009 06:24:00 PM

We do requests (sometimes). This is an update to a graph I posted last November.

This is a look at the real year-over-year (YoY) change in house prices vs. personal consumption expenditures (PCE) through Q4 2008:

House Prices vs. PCE Click on image for larger graph in new window.

This graph shows real Case-Shiller quarterly national prices adjusted using CPI less Shelter vs. real PCE. Note that YoY real Case-Shiller prices fell at a slightly slower pace in Q4 - only 17% - compared to 21% YoY in Q3, mostly because CPI less shelter declined in Q4.

For this limited data set (house price data is only available since 1987) the YoY changes move somewhat together, although house prices started declining before PCE during the current economic downturn. This difference in timing could be because of homeowners withdrawing equity from their homes (the Home ATM) even after prices first started falling. However the recent MEW data shows that the Home ATM is closed and consumption has declined sharply.

This doesn't tell us how much further real PCE will decline on a YoY basis - my initial guess was 4%, but it might be less.