Buying decisions that caused closings in early 2015 were stimulated by mortgage rates in the mid-to-high threes. Now that rates are back over 4%, and NSDCC inventory is about 18% higher than it was at the end of April, we should see the appreciation rate flatten out for the rest of the year.
Here are the San Diego monthly changes for 2015:
“Home prices continue to rise across the country, but the pace is not accelerating,” David M. Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said in a statement.
The Case-Shiller Index for San Diego was flat for the last three months of 2014.
But when rates dropped back into the 3.50% to 3.75% range in January, the market surged and both sales and prices picked up.
Here are the San Diego readings for 2015:
The Case-Shiller Index is a lagging indicator, and its reflection of buying decisions made in December-February seems like ancient history today.
David Blitzer said:
“Home prices are currently rising more quickly than either per capita personal income (3.1%) or wages (2.2%), narrowing the pool of future home-buyers.
All of this suggests that some future moderation in home prices gains is likely,” he said. “Moreover, consumer debt levels seem to be manageable.”
The January reading for San Diego was +0.71%, and we almost matched it in February with a +0.72% increase. The year-over-year change was +4.7%.
Downer Dave said,
“Home prices continue to rise and outpace both inflation and wage gains,” said David M. Blitzer. “The S&P/Case-Shiller National Index has seen 34 consecutive months with positive year-over-year gains; all 20 cities have shown year-over-year gains every month since the end of 2012. While prices are certainly rebounding, only two cities – Denver and Dallas – have surpassed their housing boom peaks.
“A better sense of where home prices are can be seen by starting in January 2000, before the housing boom accelerated, and looking at real or inflation adjusted numbers. Based on the S&P/Case-Shiller National Home Price Index, prices rose 66.8% before adjusting for inflation from January 2000 to February 2015; adjusted for inflation, this is 27.9%, or a 1.7% annual rate.
The highest price gain over the last 15 years was in Los Angeles with a 4.3% real annual rate; the lowest was Detroit with a -3.6% real annual rate (San Diego is +4.12%). While nationally, prices are recovering, new construction of single family homes remains very weak despite low vacancy rates among both renters and owner-occupied homes.”
The S&P/Case-Shiller’s 20-City Composite gained 5 percent year-over-year in February, compared with a 4.5 percent increase in January.
Denver led the gains with a 10-percent increase in home prices in the last 12 months, marking the first double-digit gain for the city since August 2013. San Francisco, where values appreciated 9.8 percent from February 2014, saw the largest acceleration in prices.
Only San Diego, Las Vegas, and Portland saw the pace of increases slow from the previous year.
This chart of annual changes shows how the frenzy has tapered off since 2013:
After declining four out of the last five months, the Case-Shiller Index for San Diego rose in January by 0.71%. The year-over-year change was 5.1%, which is pretty hefty considering how high prices already were at the beginning of 2014.
Dave rains on the parade, as usual:
“Despite price gains, the housing market faces some difficulties. Home prices are rising roughly twice as fast as wages, putting pressure on potential homebuyers and heightening the risk that any uptick in interest rates could be a major setback,” said David M. Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the Index Committee for S&P Dow Jones Indices.
The previous reading of the San Diego Case-Shiller Index was +0.29%, and the latest gave almost all of that back. December’s reading was -0.24%, making it four out of the last five that were in negative territory. But the three-month above shows that the end of 2014 was flatsville.
Bob Shiller should be checking in later with his usual whamsy-pamsy remarks, and Dr. Blitzer continues to be focused on what’s wrong – he has to be a lot of fun at parties:
“The housing recovery is faltering. While prices and sales of existing homes are close to normal, construction and new home sales remain weak. Before the current business cycle, any time housing starts were at their current level of about one million at annual rates, the economy was in a recession” says David M. Blitzer, Managing Director and Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “The softness in housing is despite favorable conditions elsewhere in the economy: strong job growth, a declining unemployment rate, continued low interest rates and positive consumer confidence.
The local Case-Shiller index ended its three-month skid in November, rising 0.29% above October’s mark. It will probably bounce around a bit from now on.
The San Diego Case-Shiller Index is 24% higher than it was in Nov. 2012.
Minor movements would seem to be much preferred to the violent ups and downs of previous years, but David Blitzer isn’t happy enough. Either that, or he is struggling with his hyperboles:
The S&P/Case Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas gained 4.3 percent in November from the prior year, the slowest since October 2007 although it matched analyst expectations. This compared with a 4.5 percent annual increase in October.
“With the spring home buying season, and spring training, still a month or two away, the housing recovery is barely on first base,” said David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said in a statement.
“Prospects for a home run in 2015 aren’t good,” he added.
How did 2014 stack up to previous years?
||No. of Sales
A. Look at the similarities between the median SP in 2003-2005, and the last three years. In both cases, the frenzy caused a large increase one year, followed by a smaller jump the next year. It then plateaued in 2006 and 2007, in spite of the easiest credit ever. I think we can expect a similar plateau-like event in pricing.
B. In 2014, we had 3% fewer listings, but 12% fewer sales than in 2013. The pricing strategies being employed are less effective than before.
C. Over the last two years, more than half of the sales occurred within the first month the house was on the market.
Expect more of the same this year!
The ivory-tower opinion below is blaming speculators for a mini-bubble, but around here I’d say that over 90% of the home sales were regular, organic real estate transactions in 2013. Prices may fall in the coming months (slightly), and if they do, it will be because buyers are being patient and picking off only the best buys.
Home prices displayed mixed signals in Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego in the single month of October 2014. Prices dipped in San Diego, remained roughly level in Los Angeles and rose slightly in San Francisco. Low-tier property prices are still on average 10% higher than one year earlier. Mid-tier and high-tier prices are 6% higher.
As in 2010, today’s price movement is the tail end of a mini-bubble, set into motion some 18 months earlier. This price rise was produced by short-lived speculator interference in 2013 (not a tax stimulus, as in 2009). This pricing activity is under pressure from insufficient personal incomes, rising fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) rates and new construction.
Prices are expected to fall in the coming months, likely bottoming in mid-2016 and retreating toward the mean price trendline. The cooling of speculative fever and continually rising mortgage rates will prolong the falling trend in sales volume, pulling prices down in turn. Remember, real estate prices track and run with bond prices due to interest rate movement. A lag time of up to 12 months exists due to expectations of continued recent price movement — the sticky price phenomenon.
The graph tells the story – the higher-end market is ‘soft’, and only those with precision pricing are selling.
The San Diego Case-Shiller Index declined for the third consecutive month, but the rate of change is so small that even David Blitzer called San Diego, ‘flat’.
Here are the non-seasonally-adjusted readings for 2014:
||San Diego NSA Case-Shiller Index
The October reading is 4.2% higher than January’s low for the year, and 40.7% above the trough in April, 2009!
Shiller called the housing market, ‘fragile’, and mentioned his usual ‘anxiety’ that a slowdown could be a precursor to prices dropping. Video was skyped from what had to be his office, which looks like a professor’s domain:
We’ve doubled the number of negative readings of the local Case-Shiller Index, and they are picking up steam!
But seriously, any monthly change of less than 1% just means prices are stagnant, and in San Diego it’s been like that since the April reading. If prices were flat during the prime selling season, we’re probably fortunate that they’ve held up this long.
Economist Robert Shiller told CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” the reading was not exciting, and he noted that the winter season is historically slow for home sales. ”We haven’t expected exciting growth for a while, but it does look like seasonally adjusted home prices are still growing,” he said.
These are the Case-Shiller Index NSA changes below for San Diego: