Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Real House Prices and Price-to-Rent Ratio in September

by Bill McBride on 11/28/2017 11:48:00 AM

Here is the earlier post on Case-Shiller: Case-Shiller: National House Price Index increased 6.2% year-over-year in September

It has been more than ten years since the bubble peak. In the Case-Shiller release this morning, the seasonally adjusted National Index (SA), was reported as being 5.1% above the previous bubble peak. However, in real terms, the National index (SA) is still about 12.2% below the bubble peak (and historically there has been an upward slope to real house prices).

The year-over-year increase in prices is mostly moving sideways now around 6%. In September, the index was up 6.2% YoY.

Usually people graph nominal house prices, but it is also important to look at prices in real terms (inflation adjusted).  Case-Shiller and others report nominal house prices.  As an example, if a house price was $200,000 in January 2000, the price would be close to $280,300 today adjusted for inflation (40%).  That is why the second graph below is important - this shows "real" prices (adjusted for inflation).

Nominal House Prices

Nominal House PricesThe first graph shows the monthly Case-Shiller National Index SA, and the monthly Case-Shiller Composite 20 SA (through August) in nominal terms as reported.

In nominal terms, the Case-Shiller National index (SA) is at a new peak, and the Case-Shiller Composite 20 Index (SA) is back to November 2005 levels.



Real House Prices

Real House PricesThe second graph shows the same two 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 August 2004 levels, and the Composite 20 index is back to March 2004.

In real terms, house prices are back to mid 2004 levels.

Price-to-Rent

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 National and Composite 20 House Price Indexes.

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

On a price-to-rent basis, the Case-Shiller National index is back to December 2003 levels, and the Composite 20 index is back to September 2003 levels.

In real terms, prices are back to mid 2004 levels, and the price-to-rent ratio is back to 2003 - and the price-to-rent ratio has been increasing slowly.