Despite Goldman's expectations of a +0.1% sequential move, and the broader economic lemming consensus of a modest -0.2% drop, the just released March Case Shiller housing data confirmed there is no end in sight for the housing double (or triple, or quadruple, or who cares: take out the Fed's $2.7 trillion and housing really has been in a non-stop plunge for 3 years now), missing expectations and printing at -0.23%. In addition the February data was revised even lower from -0.18% to -0.25% (expect failed career economists at Goldman and elsewhere to disclose this as a huge positive as it is really an increase). The Composite 20 dropped -3.61% on expectations of -3.4%. The press release says it all: "This month’s report is marked by the confirmation of a double-dip in home prices across much of the nation. The National Index hit a new recession low with the first quarter’s data and posted an annual decline of 5.1% versus the first quarter of 2010. Nationally, home prices are back to their mid-2002 levels." Cue QE3, 4, and so forth through QE 666, at which point we may see in uptick in worthless Bernankebux. And as we predicted earlier, bizarro day, with futures about to hit 3 year highs, now reigns supreme.
More from the release:
As of March 2011, 19 of the 20 MSAs covered by S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices and both monthly composites were down compared to March 2010. Twelve of the 20 MSAs and the 20-City Composite also posted new index lows in March. With an index value of 138.16, the 20-City Composite fell below its earlier reported April 2009 low of 139.26. Minneapolis posted a double-digit 10.0% annual decline, the first market to be back in this territory since March 2010 when Las Vegas was down 12.0% on an annual basis. In the midst of all these falling prices and record lows, Washington DC was the only city where home prices increased on both a monthly (+1.1%) and annual (+4.3%) basis. Seattle was up a modest 0.1% for the month, but still down 7.5% versus March 2010.
The chart on the previous page depicts the annual returns of the U.S. National, the 10-City Composite and the 20-City Composite Home Price Indices. The S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index, which covers all nine U.S. census divisions, recorded a 5.1% decline in the first quarter of 2011 over the first quarter of 2010. In March, the 10- and 20-City Composites posted annual rates of decline of 2.9% and 3.6%, respectively. Thirteen of the 20 MSAs and both monthly Composites saw their annual growth rates fall deeper into negative territory in March. While they did not worsen, Chicago, Phoenix and Seattle saw no improvement in their respective annual rates.
“This month’s report is marked by the confirmation of a double-dip in home prices across much of the nation. The National Index, the 20-City Composite and 12 MSAs all hit new lows with data reported through March 2011. The National Index fell 4.2% over the first quarter alone, and is down 5.1% compared to its year-ago level. Home prices continue on their downward spiral with no relief in sight.” says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Indices. “Since December 2010, we have found an increasing number of markets posting new lows. In March 2011, 12 cities - Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Las Vegas, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, Phoenix, Portland (OR) and Tampa - fell to their lowest levels as measured by the current housing cycle. Washington D.C. was the only MSA displaying positive trends with an annual growth rate of +4.3% and a 1.1% increase from its February level.
“The rebound in prices seen in 2009 and 2010 was largely due to the first-time home buyers tax credit. Excluding the results of that policy, there has been no recovery or even stabilization in home prices during or after the recent recession. Further, while last year saw signs of an economic recovery, the most recent data do not point to renewed gains.
And there you have it: fiscal and monetary policy is now proven to be a complete and total disaster, and Keynes can now be put to bed, except for another year of record 2011 US banker bonuses, of course, which have now tapped German taxpayers to guarantee payouts.