Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Bottom for House Prices

by Bill McBride on 4/25/2012 11:37:00 AM

First a comment: Back in February, I argued that The Housing Bottom is Here. My previous house price call was back in December 2010, and at that time I thought we'd see another 5% to 10% decline on the repeat sales indexes. Corelogic is down 7.3% since October 2010, and the Case-Shiller composites indexes (NSA) are down about 7.6% (both will probably fall further with the March report). About what I expected.

Here are some more bottom calls (or close to bottom calls). Most of the following analysts and economists haven't called a bottom before - so this isn't the usual annual "Rite of Spring" bottom calls, but we have to be careful about an echo chamber since we all look at the similar data. Also these are just forecasts ...

From John Gittelsohn and Prashant Gopal at Bloomberg: Housing Declared Bottoming in U.S.

Economists including Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ's Chris Rupkey, Bank of America Corp.'s Michelle Meyer and Mark Fleming of CoreLogic Inc. are also predicting prices are close to a trough after a 35 percent slump from a July 2006 peak, even as the threat of more foreclosures loom to boost supply.
...
Meyer, senior economist with Bank of America in New York, said the recovery will be led by the parts of the country with fewer foreclosures and more job growth. She estimates that U.S. prices will reach bottom this year and stay little changed until 2014, when they may gain about 2.5 percent.
...
"It's just a matter of months before we get positive year- over-year numbers in the overall index," Fleming said in a telephone interview from Washington. "Our data lags the reality. The turnaround is happening in the March, April and May time frame."
The article also has some more bearish comments including some from Robert Shiller.

From Zillow: U.S. Home Values Post Largest Monthly Gain Since 2006; Majority of Markets Covered by Zillow Home Value Forecast To Hit Bottom by Late 2012
Home values in the United States increased, rising 0.5 percent from February to March, according to Zillow's first quarter Real Estate Market Reports. This marks the largest monthly increase in the Zillow Home Value Index (ZHVI) since May 2006, when home values also rose 0.5 percent.

Nationally, the Zillow Home Value Forecast shows that home values will fall 0.4 percent over the next 12 months, with many months showing no change or slight appreciation late this year, suggesting that U.S. home values could reach a bottom in late 2012.

"For people who have been waiting to time their home purchase close to market bottom, it's time to start shopping," said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Stan Humphries. "When the bottom will hit will vary by market, and it's nearly impossible to time a purchase exactly right."
And NDD at the Bonddad Blog has a summary of recent data: Housing overview part 2: prices

And finally, a well known private forecasting group (that I can't name) put a research note this morning, based on their own surveys, saying that house prices have probably found a bottom.

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