Some time ago, before China's hard landing was virtually assured (see Iron Ore prices), there was a period when its data was a veritable cornucopia of Schrodingerian ambivalence, with various economic indicators representing either growth or contraction at the same time. It appears that the modified wave-particle duality has just shifted to the US, whose housing segment is the latest patient of wave function collapse as the July Case Shiller index printed both a beat and a miss at the same time. The Top 20 composite index beat in the NSA Year over Year price change, which was +1.2%, on expectations of +1.05%, and up from a revised 0.59. However, it missed in the sequential Top 20 Composite price change, which printed at 0.44%, below expectations and half off the June price increase of 0.91%. In fact, as the chart below shows, the July increase was now the slowest sequential increase in the past 5 months, and at this rate, the August, or September data at the latest, will show a sequential decline in prices, as the euphoria from the Rent-to-REO fades, and as the massively pent up foreclosure inventory is finally forced to come to market and drag prices far below where the currently artificially propped up market "clears" (read Foreclosure Stuffing).
And from the report:
“Home prices increased again in July,” says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “All 20 cities and both Composites were up on the month for the third time in a row. Even better, 16 of the 20 cities and both Composites rose over the last year. Atlanta remains the weakest city but managed to cut the annual loss to just under 10%.
“Digging into the numbers, 15 cities and both Composites had stronger annual returns in July’s report. New York was the only city with a worse 12-month decline in July than June. Dallas and Washington D.C. saw no change in their annual rates. Cleveland and Detroit saw annual rates decelerate in July versus June, although they remain positive for both cities.
“The news on home prices in this report confirm recent good news about housing. Single family housing starts are well ahead of last year’s pace, existing home sales are up, the inventory of homes for sale is down and foreclosure activity is slowing. All in all, we are more optimistic about housing. Upbeat trends continue. For the third time in a row, all 20 cities and both Composites had monthly gains. Stronger housing numbers are a positive factor for other measures including consumer confidence.
“Among the cities, Miami and Phoenix are both well off their bottoms with positive monthly gains since the end of 2011. Many of the markets we follow have seen some decent recovery from their respective lows – San Francisco up 20.4%, Detroit up 19.7%, Phoenix up 17.0% and Minneapolis up 16.5%, to name the top few. These were some of the markets that were hit the hardest when the housing bubble burst in 2006. The 10-City has increased 7.4% and the 20-City 7.8% since their recent lows. The positive news in both the monthly and annual rates of change in home prices over the past few months signals a possible recovery in the housing market.”
Remember: Bernanke needs to demonstrate an improvement in the housing market in order to justify his latest infinite monetary easing escapade, whose only real goal of course is to push the stock market higher. If and when the latest dead cat bounce, 4th in a row, ends, some, not Chuck Schumer, may once again question the prudence of unleashing infinite fiat in order to artificially prop up home (and stock) prices which are becoming increasingly unaffordable to the bulk of the population, but certainly not to the offshore billionaires who use the NAR's anti-money laundering exemption to, well, launder money.