Friday, December 26, 2014

Question #9 for 2015: What will happen with house prices in 2015?

by Bill McBride on 12/26/2014 12:12:00 PM

Earlier I posted some questions for next year: Ten Economic Questions for 2015. I'll try to add some thoughts, and maybe some predictions for each question.

Here is a review of the Ten Economic Questions for 2014.

7) House Prices: House Prices: It appears house prices - as measured by the national repeat sales index (Case-Shiller, CoreLogic) - will be up about 5% or so in 2014 (after increasing about 12% nationally in 2013). What will happen with house prices in 2015?

The following graph shows the year-over-year change in the seasonally adjusted Composite 10, Composite 20 and National indices (the Composite 20 was started in January 2000).

Case-Shiller House Prices IndicesClick on graph for larger image.

The Composite 10 SA was up 4.9% compared to September 2013, the Composite 20 SA was up 4.9% and the National index SA was up 4.8% year-over-year.  Other house price indexes have indicated similar gains (see table below).

Although I use Case-Shiller, I also use several other price indexes. The following table shows the year-over-year change for several house prices indexes.  The year-over-year price increases slowed in 2014, but the slowdown is probably mostly over (I don't expect prices to go negative year-over-year).

Year-over-year Change for Various House Price Indexes
IndexThrough Increase
Case-Shiller Comp 20Sept-144.9%
Case-Shiller NationalSept-144.8%
CoreLogicOct-146.1%
ZillowOct-146.4%
Black KnightSept-144.6%
FNCOct-145.7%
FHFA Purchase OnlySept-144.5%

Some of the key factors in 2012 and 2013 were limited inventory, fewer foreclosures, investor buying in certain areas, and a change in psychology as buyers and sellers started believing house prices had bottomed.  In some areas, like Phoenix, there appeared to be a bounce off the bottom - but that bounce appears to have ended in 2014.  The investor buying has slowed - as have distressed sales.

The consensus of housing analysts appears to be for price increases of around 3.5% in 2015.

In 2015, inventories will probably remain low, but I expect inventories to continue to increase on a year-over-year basis.  Low inventories, and a better economy (with more consumer confidence) suggests further price increases in 2015.  I expect we will see prices up mid single digits (percentage) in 2015 as measured by these house price indexes.

Here are the ten questions for 2015 and a few predictions:
Question #2 for 2015: How many payroll jobs will be added in 2015?
Question #3 for 2015: What will the unemployment rate be in December 2015?
Question #4 for 2015: Will too much inflation be a concern in 2015?
Question #5 for 2015: Will the Fed raise rates in 2015? If so, when?
Question #6 for 2015: Will real wages increase in 2015?
Question #7 for 2015: What about oil prices in 2015?
Question #8 for 2015: How much will Residential Investment increase?
Question #9 for 2015: What will happen with house prices in 2015?
Question #10 for 2015: How much will housing inventory increase in 2015?