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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Real House Prices, Q3 2010

by Calculated Risk on 11/30/2010 12:04:00 PM

This morning, S&P reported that there were "broad based" house price declines in Q3. And earlier this month, CoreLogic reported that house prices declined 1.8% in September.

The following graph shows the Case-Shiller National index (quarterly), the Case-Shiller Composite 20 index, and the CoreLogic House Price Index in real terms (adjusted for inflation using CPI less shelter).

Real House PricesClick on graph for larger image in new window.

In real terms, all three indexes are back to 2000 / 2001 prices. The real Case-Shiller national index is at a new cycle low, and the real Case-Shiller Composite 20 and real CoreLogic indexes are just above the cycle low (and will be at new lows soon).

A few key points:
• In many areas - if the population is increasing - house prices increase slightly faster than inflation over time, so there is an upward slope in real prices.
• Even if real prices are still too high, they are much closer to the eventual bottom than the top in 2005. This isn't like in 2005 when prices were way out of the normal range.
• With high levels of inventory, prices will probably fall some more. (My forecast earlier this year was for 5% to 10% additional price declines on the repeat sales indexes).