Home prices rose 4.97% YoY in June, according to Case-Shiller's 20-City index, missing expectations for the 3rd month in a row. Price appreciation has now been flat for 5 months - despite surging home sales - as bubblicious San Francisco saw price depreciation once again. Portland amd Denver saw the most appreciation in June. This is the second month in a row of sequential seasonally-adjusted declines in home prices, and along with TOL's dismal report this morning, suggests maybe another pillar of the 'strong' US economy meme is being kicked out... and Case-Shiller warn more than one rate hike by The Fed (or a stock market plunge) will stymie housing considerably.
Home price growth stagnates, misses again...
As Case-Shiller explain,
“Nationally, home prices continue to rise at a 4-5% annual rate, two to three times the rate of inflation,” says David M. Blitzer, Managing Director and Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “While prices in San Francisco and Denver are rising far faster than those in Washington DC, New York, or Cleveland, the city-to-city price patterns are little changed in the last year. Washington saw the smallest year-over-year gains in five of the last six months; San Francisco and Denver ranked either first or second of all cities in the last five months. The price gains have been consistent as the unemployment rate declined with steady inflation and an unchanged Fed policy.
“The missing piece in the housing picture has been housing starts and sales. These have changed for the better in the last few months. Sales of existing homes reached 5.6 million at annual rates in July, the strongest figure since 2007. Housing starts topped 1.2 million units at annual rates with almost two-thirds of the total in single family homes. Sales of new homes are also trending higher. These data point to a stronger housing sector to support the economy.
Two possible clouds on the horizon are a possible Fed rate increase and volatility in the stock market.
A one quarter-point increase in the Fed funds rate won’t derail housing. However, if the Fed were to quickly follow that initial move with one or two more rate increases, housing and home prices might suffer.
A stock market correction is unlikely to do much damage to the housing market; a full blown bear market dropping more than 20% would present some difficulties for housing and for other economic sectors.”
Perhaps indicating just how fragile all of this really is.