Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Case Shiller: Denver area home prices up for eighth month in a row

Case-Shiller released its home price index for August 2012 today. The home price index for the Denver area rose 0.5 percent percent from July to August, and rose 5.5 percent, year over year, from August 2011 to August 2012.  The year-over-year increase in August was the eighth year-over-year increase in a row for Denver, and was the largest increase since January 2002. The first graph shows the index values since 2001. The index value is at the highest value seen since November 2007.

 According to S&P's press release, home prices nationwide continued to show some signs of growth:
““Home prices continued climbing across the country in August,” says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index  Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “Nineteen of the 20 cities and both Composites showed monthly gains  in August. Seventeen cities and both Composites posted positive annual returns in August 2012. In 18 cities and  both Composites annual rates improved in August versus July. Dallas’ rate remained unchanged at +3.6% and  Chicago worsened slightly from a -1.0% annual rate in July to a -1.6% annual rate in August.  
In year-over-year comparisons for August, three 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 6.1 percent, while the index in New York fell 2.3 percent. Denver was among the seventeen cities reporting increases, and had the fifth-largest increase of the twenty cities. Only Detroit, Phoenix, Miami, 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 29 percent since it peaked in July 2006, but the Denver index is down only 4.8 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 third time in 23 months.

In short: Denver metro home prices have shown a 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. We must go back to January 2002 to find a larger year-over-year growth rate. The index grew by 5.7 percent from January 2001 to January 2002.