By Steve Cook
Two of the nation’s most authoritative national housing price indices today reported significant third quarter price increases over last year at this time, and the chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices confirmed that a housing recover is underway.
The S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index recorded a 3.6 percent gain in the third quarter of 2012 over the third quarter of 2011, marking the sixth consecutive month of increasing prices. In September 2012, the 10- and 20-City Composites posted annual increases of 2.1percent and 3.0 percent, respectively.
Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) seasonally adjusted purchase-only house price index reported today that seasonally adjusted house prices rose 4.0 percent from the third quarter of 2011 to the third quarter of 2012. FHFA’s seasonally adjusted monthly index for September was up 0.2 percent from August.prices, and rose 1.1 percent from the second quarter to the third quarter of 2012.
With significant growth in home prices during the quarter and a modest inventory of homes available for sale, house price movements in the third quarter were similar to what we observed in the spring,” says FHFA Principal Economist Andrew Leventis. “The past year has seen consistent price increases, but a number of factors continue to affect the recovery in home prices such as stagnant income growth, high unemployment levels, lingering uncertainty about the macroeconomy, and the large number of homes in the foreclosure pipeline.”
FHFA’s expanded-data house price index, a metric introduced in August 2011 that adds transactions information from county recorder offices and the Federal Housing Administration to the HPI data sample, rose 1.0 percent over the latest quarter. Over the latest four quarters,the index is up 3.3 percent. For individual states, price changes reflected in the expanded-data measure and the traditional purchase-only HPI are compared on pages 21-23 of this report.
Average home prices in the S&P/Case-Shiller 10- and 20-City Composites were each up by 0.3 percent in September versus August 2012. Seventeen of the 20 MSAs and both Composites posted better annual returns in September versus August 2012; Detroit and Washington D.C. recorded a slight deceleration in their annual rates, and New York saw no change.
The 10- and 20-City Case-Shiller Composites have posted positive annual returns for four consecutive months with a +2.1 percent and +3.0 percent annual change in September, respectively. Month-over-month, both Composites have recorded increases for six consecutive months, with the most recent monthly gain being +0.3 percent for each Composite.
“In September’s report all three headline composites and 17 of the 20 cities gained over their levels of a year ago. Month-over-month, 13 cities and both Composites posted positive monthly gains,” says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices.
“We are entering the seasonally weak part of the year. The headline figures, which are not seasonally adjusted, showed five cities with lower prices in September versus only one in August; in the seasonally adjusted data the pattern was reversed: one city fell in September versus two in August. Despite the seasons, housing continues to improve.”
Blitzer says Phoenix continues to lead the recovery with a +20.4 percent annual growth rate. Atlanta has finally reversed 26 months of annual declines with a +0.1 percent annual rate as observed in September’s housing data. At the other end of the spectrum, Chicago and New York were the only two cities to post annual declines of 1.5 percent and 2.3 percent respectively and were also down 0.6 percent and 0.1 percent month-over-month.
“Thirteen of the 20 cities recorded positive monthly returns; Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland and New York saw modest drops in home prices in September as compared to August; Tampa and Washington D.C. were flat. With six months of consistently rising home prices, it is safe to say that we are now in the midst of a recovery in the housing market.”
As of the third quarter of 2012, average home prices across the United States are back at their mid-2003 levels. At the end of the third quarter of 2012, the National Index was up 2.2 percent over the second quarter of 2012 and 3.6 percent above the third quarter of 2011.
As of September 2012, average home prices across the United States for the 10-City and 20-City Composites are back to their autumn 2003 levels. Measured from their June/July 2006 peaks, the decline for both Composites is approximately 29 percent through September 2012. For both Composites, the September 2012 levels are approximately 9 percent above their recent lows seen in March 2012.
In September 2012, 13 MSAs and both Composites posted positive monthly gains. Home prices in Tampa and Washington DC saw no change from August to September. Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland and New York saw a slight drop in prices in September. Phoenix recorded the highest increase in annual rate, up 20.4 percent from its September 2011 level. Chicago and New York were the only two cities that fared worse year-over-year with respective annual rates of -1.5 percent and -2.3 percent.
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