Note on McAfee: For some users, McAfee incorrectly flagged CR. I've spoken to McAfee, and hopefully this is resolved. You can check Google's site evaluation here.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Real House Prices and Price-to-Rent

by Bill McBride on 8/30/2011 11:25:00 AM

Case-Shiller, CoreLogic and others report nominal house prices. However it is also useful to look at house prices in real terms (adjusted for inflation), as a price-to-rent ratio, and also price-to-income (not shown here).

Below are three graphs showing nominal prices (as reported), real prices and a price-to-rent ratio. Real prices are back to 1999/2000 levels, and the price-to-rent ratio is also back to 2000 levels.

Nominal House Prices

Nominal House PricesClick on graph for larger image in graph gallery.

The first graph shows the quarterly Case-Shiller National Index SA (through Q2 2011), and the monthly Case-Shiller Composite 20 SA (through June) and CoreLogic House Price Indexes (through June) in nominal terms (as reported).

In nominal terms, the Case-Shiller National index is back to Q4 2002 levels, the Case-Shiller Composite 20 Index (SA) is back to June 2003 levels, and the CoreLogic index is back to May 2003.

Real House Prices

Real House PricesThe second graph shows the same three indexes in real terms (adjusted for inflation using CPI less Shelter). Note: some people use other inflation measures to adjust for real prices.

In real terms, the National index is back to Q3 1999 levels, the Composite 20 index is back to September 2000, and the CoreLogic index back to May 2000.

In real terms, all appreciation in the last decade is gone.


In October 2004, Fed economist John Krainer and researcher Chishen Wei wrote a Fed letter on price to rent ratios: House Prices and Fundamental Value. Kainer and Wei presented a price-to-rent ratio using the OFHEO house price index and the Owners' Equivalent Rent (OER) from the BLS.

Price-to-Rent RatioHere is a similar graph using the Case-Shiller Composite 20 and CoreLogic House Price Index (through May).

This graph shows the price to rent ratio (January 1998 = 1.0).

Note: the measure of Owners' Equivalent Rent (OER) was mostly flat for two years - so the price-to-rent ratio mostly followed changes in nominal house prices. In recent months, OER has been increasing - lowering the price-to-rent ratio.

On a price-to-rent basis, the Composite 20 index is back to September 2000 levels, and the CoreLogic index is back to May 2000.

Case Shiller: Home Prices increased in June

Last 10 Posts