Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Case Shiller: Denver home price index in October at 10-year low

Case-Shiller released its home price index for October today. The home price index for the Denver area fell 0.2 percent from September to October, and fell 0.9 percent,year over year, from October 2010 to October 2011. Prices fell in October due at least partially to seasonal factors, although the overall index for the year remains below the index values seen during 2010. As can be seen in the first graph below, home prices during 2011 did not match even the levels seen at seasonal peaks during 2009 and 2010.

According to S&P's press release, home prices are still facing headwinds:

And even though some of the annual rates are improving, 18 cities and both Composites are still negative. Nationally, home prices are still below where they were a year ago. The 10-City Composite is down 3.0% and the 20-City is down 3.4% compared to October 2010.

In the October data, the only good news is some improvement in the annual rates of change in home prices, with 14 of 20 cities and both Composites seeing their annual rates of change improve. The crisis low for the 10-City Composite was back in April 2009; whereas it was a more recent March 2011 for the 20-City Composite. The 10-City Composite is about 2.4% above its relative low, and the 20-City Composite is about 1.9%.

In year-over-year comparisons for October, Atlanta showed the largest drop, with a decline of 11.7 percent, while the index in Minneapolis fell 8.4 percent. Year over year, home price indices fell in 18 of the 20 cities included in the study. Only Washington, DC and Detroit showed increases.

The second chart shows trends in the Case-Shiller index for the Denver area and for the 20-city composite index. It is clear that Denver did not experience the kind of price bubble that occurred in many other metropolitan areas, and consequently, the index has not fallen nearly as far in Denver compared to the larger composite. Prices have been largely flat since mid-2009.

The 20-city composite is down 32 percent since it peaked in July 2006, but the Denver index is down only 10 percent from its August 2006 peak.

Nevertheless, the Denver index during October was at the lowest October value seen since 2002.

The third chart compares year-over-year changes in the Denver area index and in the 20-city composite. The Denver index did not achieve the rates of growth experienced by the national index, but the Denver index did not experience comparable rates of decline following the onset of the national recession either. Overall, the index has been less volatile in Denver than has been the case for the 20-city composite. However, year-over-year growth in the 20-city composite during October was negative with a decrease of 3.4 percent, and the Denver area index’s fall of 0.9 percent is the 16th month in a row in which the growth rate has been negative. In the 20-city index, the year-over-year change has been negative for the most recent 13 months.

The last chart provides a closer look at year-over-year changes in the Denver index. Note the the change has been below zero since June 2010, and likely reflects the end of the homebuyer tax credit’s end which has led to a fall in demand and a decline in the home price index. The upward trend in the index in response to the tax credit is clear during late 2009 and early 2010. Since the end of the credit, however, home prices have consistently drifted downward.