Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Case-Shiller: Home price index way up in Denver, increases 9.2 percent

Case-Shiller released its home price index for January 2012 today. The home price index for the Denver area fell 0.0 percent percent from December to January, and rose 9.2  percent, year over year, from January 2012 to January 2013.  The year-over-year increase in January was the thirteenth year-over-year increase in a row for Denver, and was the largest increase since 2001.

 According to S & P's press release, home prices nationwide continued to show some signs of growth:
“Economic data continues to support the housing recovery. Single-family home building permits and housing  starts posted double-digit year-over-year increases in February 2013. Despite a slight uptick in foreclosure  filings, numbers are still down 25% year-over-year. Steady employment and low borrowing rates pushed  inventories down to their lowest post-recession levels.” 
In year-over-year comparisons for January, all of the twenty cities measured reported increases.  The largest increases were in Phoenix and San Francisco with year over year increases of 23.2 percent and 17.5 percent, respectively.

The first 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 metro Denver index value is at the highest value seen since 2007.

The 20-city composite is down 29 percent since it peaked in July 2006, but the Denver index is down only 4.3 percent from its August 2006 peak.

The second 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 December was positive for the seventh month in a row.

In short: Denver metro home prices have shown a stronger growth trend in recent months than the 20-city composite, but the composite index is catching up.

The last graph 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.