The Case-Shiller Index for April wasn’t as gloomy as predicted, and offered the usual expertise:

“In a welcome shift from recent months, this month is better than last – April’s numbers beat March”, says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Indicies.  “However, the seasonally adjusted numbers show that much of the improvement reflects the beginning of the Spring-Summer home buying season.  It is much too early to tell if this is a turning point or simply due to some warmer weather.”

Is he suggesting that warmer weather might cause people to pay more for a house?  Normally we’ll see sales increase during the “spring/summer selling season”, but do prices go up too?

They said that the “seasonally-adjusted numbers” reflect that April’s improvement in the index was due to normal seasonal increases, but it’s hard to notice any calendar trends in San Diego’s Case-Shiller Index after the recent downturn.  

It dropped 37 months straight, and a whopping -42%, from April 2006 to April 2009, and has been bumping around since.  The index is blended over three months, so the monthly rate of change isn’t as obvious:


The monthly changes in the index are so small that these charts just give us longer-term pricing trends.

Is there a better time of year to buy or sell a home?

Theoretically, you would think that more of the elective sellers would try to sell during the spring/summer, warm weather or not – people believe that it’s the season to sell. 

With more of those better-quality homes selling, there should be an uptick in pricing around springtime, but it depends on the quality blend.  With today’s lower sales counts, there is more chance that a bulk of inferior properties could get dumped in any month, and potentially skew pricing downward even during the “season”.

Link to the S&P Case-Shiller Index data here.


San Diego’s Case-Shiller Index changes:

Feb. to March:  -0.8% (seasonally adjusted = -0.9%)

March to April:  +0.4% (seasonally adjusted = -0.09%)

1-year change:  -4.3%

2-year change: +7.0%  (April, 2009 was the trough for non-seasonally-adjusted index)

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