Thursday, August 30, 2012

Case-Shiller: Denver metro index up to highest level since 2008

Case-Shiller released its home price index for June 2012 on Tuesday. The home price index for the Denver area rose 2.0 percent percent from May to June, and rose 4.0 percent, year over year, from June 2011 to June 2012.  The year-over-year increase in June was the sixth year-over-year increase in a row for Denver, and was the largest increase in 26 months . The first graph shows the index values since 2001. The index value is at the highest value seen since August 2008.

According to S&P's press release, home prices nationwide continued to show some signs of growth:
“Home prices gained in the second quarter,” says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “In this month’s report all three composites and all 20 cities improved both in June and through the entire second quarter of 2012. All 20 cities and both monthly Composites rose for the second consecutive month. It would have been a third consecutive month had we not seen home prices fall in Detroit back in April.
In year-over-year comparisons for June, six out of 20 cities showed year-over-year declines in the home price index.  Atlanta showed the largest drop by far, with a decline of 12.1 percent, while the index in New York fell 2.1 percent. Denver was among the fourteen cities reporting increases, and had the fourth-largest increase of the twenty cities. Only Miami, Phoenix, and Minneapolis reported larger year-over-year increases in the home price index than Denver.

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.

The 20-city composite is down 31 percent since it peaked in July 2006, but the Denver index is down only 6.5 percent from its August 2006 peak.

The third chart compares year-over-year changes in the Denver area index and in the 20-city composite. Overall, the index has been less volatile in Denver than has been the case for the 20-city composite. The year-over-year change in the 20-city composite during June turned positive for the first time in 21 months with an increase of 0.5 percent while Denver reported an increase of 4.0 percent.

In short: Denver metro home prices have shown a much stronger growth trend than the 20-city composite.

The last chart provides a closer look at year-over-year changes in the Denver index. The index went negative as the economy began to slow in 2007 and remained negative until this year with the exception of the period in which the homebuyer tax credit pushed up prices temporarily. Recent home price growth is accelerating as inventory declines, household formation continues, and rental housing continues to become more expensive.