Tuesday, October 30, 2012

House Price Comments, Real House Prices, Price-to-Rent Ratio

by Calculated Risk on 10/30/2012 11:41:00 AM

Case-Shiller reported the third consecutive year-over-year (YoY) gain in their house price indexes since 2010 - and the increase back in 2010 was related to the housing tax credit. Excluding the tax credit, the previous YoY increase was back in 2006. The YoY increase in August suggests that house prices probably bottomed earlier this year (the YoY change lags the turning point for prices).

The following table shows the year-over-year increase since the beginning of the year.

Case-Shiller Composite 20 Index
MonthYoY Change
Jan-12-3.9%
Feb-12-3.5%
Mar-12-2.5%
Apr-12-1.7%
May-12-0.5%
Jun-120.6%
Jul-121.1%
Aug-122.0%
Sep-12 
Oct-12 
Nov-12 
Dec-12 
Jan-13

On a not seasonally adjusted basis (NSA), house prices will probably start to decline month-to-month in October. But I think prices will remain above the post-bubble lows set earlier this year.

Here is another update to a few graphs: Case-Shiller, CoreLogic and others report nominal house prices, and it is also useful to look at house prices in real terms (adjusted for inflation) and as a price-to-rent ratio. Real prices, and the price-to-rent ratio, are back to late 1999 to 2000 levels depending on the index.

Nominal House Prices

Nominal House PricesClick on graph for larger image.

The first graph shows the quarterly Case-Shiller National Index SA (through Q2 2012), and the monthly Case-Shiller Composite 20 SA and CoreLogic House Price Indexes (through August) in nominal terms as reported.

In nominal terms, the Case-Shiller National index (SA) is back to Q1 2003 levels (and also back up to Q4 2010), and the Case-Shiller Composite 20 Index (SA) is back to August 2003 levels, and the CoreLogic index (NSA) is back to December 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 mid-1999 levels, the Composite 20 index is back to June 2000, and the CoreLogic index back to February 2001.

In real terms, most of the appreciation early in the last decade is gone.

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, Composite 20 and CoreLogic 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 Q3 1999 levels, the Composite 20 index is back to June 2000 levels, and the CoreLogic index is back to February 2001.

In real terms - and as a price-to-rent ratio - prices are mostly back to 1999 or early 2000 levels.

All Current House Price Graphs