The fourth (or is it fifth?) dead cat bounce in the US housing market is rapidly fading, as we just confirmed by the latest Case-Shiller Home Price Index data for the month of June, which saw a Y/Y increase in home prices of just 8.07%, below the 8.3% expected, and the slowest increase since December 2012. As the report noted, "for the first time since February 2008, all cities showed lower annual rates than the previous month." On a monthly basis, the NSA index, Case-Shiller's preferred, rose by 1.0% for the 10 and 20-City composite, with the Seasonally Adjusted composite declining for the second consecutive month: the last time there were two consecutive monthly declines during a price declining phase was in late 2010.
But while the housing index may be declining at the national level, some regional markets continue to stand out on the upside, likely attracting offshore laundered money by Chinese, Russian, European and Arab "investors" - broken down by cities, New York led the cities with a return of 1.6% and recorded its largest increase since June 2013. Chicago, Detroit and Las Vegas followed at +1.4%. Las Vegas posted its largest monthly gain since last summer.
On the other hand, all 20 tracked cities saw their year-over-year rates weaken in June. For the second consecutive month, San Francisco saw its rate decelerate by almost three percentage points – from 18.4% in April to 12.9% in June. Phoenix showed its smallest year-over-year gain of 6.9% since March 2012. Cleveland showed a marginal increase of 0.8% over the last 12 months while Las Vegas led with a gain of 15.2%.
Finally, on a seasonally adjusted basis, for those who care about such things, 13 out of 20 cities posted a sequential decline.
And the commentary from the report:
“Home price gains continue to ease as they have since last fall,” says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “For the first time since February 2008, all cities showed lower annual rates than the previous month. Other housing indicators – starts, existing home sales and builders’ sentiment – are positive. Taken together, these point to a more normal housing sector.
“The monthly National Index rose 0.9% in June. While all 20 cities saw higher home prices over the last 12 months, all experienced slower gains. In San Francisco, the pace of price increases halved since late last summer. The Sun Belt cities – Las Vegas, Phoenix, Miami and Tampa – all remain a third or more below their peak prices set almost a decade ago.
“Bargain basement mortgage rates won’t continue forever; recent improvements in the labor markets and comments from Fed chair Janet Yellen and others hint that interest rates could rise as soon as the first quarter of 2015. Rising mortgage rates won’t send housing into a tailspin, but will further dampen price gains.”
Which, perhaps, is another reason why despite all the rhetoric, rates simply won't rise.