Friday, December 28, 2018

Question #9 for 2019: What will happen with house prices in 2019?

by Calculated Risk on 12/28/2018 11:36:00 AM

Earlier I posted some questions for next year: Ten Economic Questions for 2019. I'm adding some thoughts, and maybe some predictions for each question.

9) House Prices: It appears house prices - as measured by the national repeat sales index (Case-Shiller, CoreLogic) - will be up around 5% in 2018.  What will happen with house prices in 2019?

The following graph shows the year-over-year change through October 2018, in the seasonally adjusted Case-Shiller 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 4.7% compared to October 2017, the Composite 20 SA was up 5.1% and the National index SA was up 5.5% year-over-year.  Other house price indexes have indicated similar gains (see table below).

The price increases in 2018 were lower than in 2017, and YoY price growth slowed towards the end of 2018.

Although I mostly use Case-Shiller, I also follow several other price indexes. The following table shows the year-over-year change for several house prices indexes.

Year-over-year Change for Various House Price Indexes
IndexThrough Increase
Case-Shiller Comp 20Oct-185.1%
Case-Shiller NationalOct-185.5%
CoreLogicOct-185.4%
FHFA Purchase OnlyOct-185.6%

Inventories will probably increase further in 2019, but will probably still be somewhat low historically.   Even though the housing market has slowed recently (fewer sales), and inventory has increased, there will be little panic selling because lending standards have been decent over the last several years.    There are always people that have to sell because of the 3-Ds: Divorce, Death and Disease, but solid lending means there is no current need to sell because of a fourth D: Debt (like happened during the housing bust).

Low inventories, and a decent economy suggests further price increases in 2019.

Last year I wrote:
"Perhaps higher mortgage rates will slow price appreciation.  If we look back at the "taper tantrum" in 2013, price appreciation slowed somewhat over the next year - but that was from a high level.  In June 2013, the Case-Shiller National index was up 9.3% year-over-year.  By June 2014, the index was up 6.3% year-over-year."
That happened in 2018, and we might see more drag from the higher mortgage rates in 2019.

If inventory increases further year-over-year as I expect by December 2019, it seems likely that price appreciation will slow to the low single digits - maybe around 3%.

Here are the Ten Economic Questions for 2019 and a few predictions:

Question #1 for 2019: Will Mr. Trump negatively impact the economy in 2019?
Question #2 for 2019: How much will the economy grow in 2019?
Question #3 for 2019: Will job creation in 2019 be as strong as in 2018?
Question #3 for 2019: Will job creation in 2019 be as strong as in 2018?
Question #4 for 2019: What will the unemployment rate be in December 2019?
Question #5 for 2019: Will the core inflation rate rise in 2019? Will too much inflation be a concern in 2019?
Question #6 for 2019: Will the Fed raise rates in 2019, and if so, by how much?
Question #7 for 2019: How much will wages increase in 2019?
Question #8 for 2019: How much will Residential Investment increase?
Question #9 for 2019: What will happen with house prices in 2019?
Question #10 for 2019: Will housing inventory increase or decrease in 2019?