Case-Shiller Quarterly Figures Up Again

The latest numbers from the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are encouraging for most of those directly involved in the U.S. housing market and their downstream suppliers. In all, 13 of the 20 major markets tracked showed year-over-year gains though there was a bit of a pause stemming from weakness during the final month of the third quarter.

In statistics through September unveiled by S&P (Standard & Poor’s) Dow Jones Tuesday, the S&P/Case-Shiller 10-City Composite and 20-City Composite each rose by 13.3% from 2012’s third quarter. Among the biggest gainers, albeit from historically depressed levels, were the Las Vegas, San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles markets. All four exceeded 20% annual increases and were the only metropolitan areas to do so above that level. Twelve cities posted double-digit improvements in all.

“The second and third quarters of 2013 were very good for home prices,” said David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Down Jones Indices. He added that year-over-year improvements have reached the best level since February 2006.

One piece of concern, however, comes from the reality that monthly gains in 19 of the 20 markets were smaller, often by about half, in September than in August. Among the weakest markets in that regard were Charlotte, the only metro area to report a percentage loss between August and September, as well as Denver, Dallas, Cleveland and Chicago. Those five were also among the weakest eight in year-over-year growth, according to S&P/Case-Shiller. In addition, hot growth in the West has sparked newfound whisper of potential price bubble emergence. This is of concern because of the damage infamously caused by overheated and unsustainable conditions in some markets, notably in Florida, California and Nevada, during the run-up to the national and global recession last decade.

- Brian Shappell, CBA, CICP, NACM staff writer

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