The report is mixed. While we continue to see improvements in the year-over-year data for all 20 cities, the rebound in housing prices seen last fall is fading. Fewer cities experienced month-to-month gains in January than in December 2009, on both a seasonally adjusted and unadjusted basis. Moreover, in four cities – Charlotte,NC, Las Vegas, Seattle and Tampa – prices reached new lows following the financial crisis. Tampa and Las Vegas experienced some of the largest gains and declines in this cycle, while Charlotte and Seattle saw much more modest price booms and relatively late peaks. On a brighter note, San Francisco and Minneapolis are 15.2% and 12.9% above their trough values. Other recent data on housing also paint a mixed picture. Housing starts continue at extremely low levels, recent reports of home sales suggest the market remains difficult, and concerns remain about further foreclosures and a large shadow inventory of unsold homes. We are in a seasonally weak part of the year, but given the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price data reported today, we can’t say we’re out of the woods yet.
—David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at Standard & Poor’s: via S&P. The 10 and 20 City composite indices have returned to the Autumn 2003 levels. The year over year change is 0% for the 10 city and -.7% for the 20 city indexes. The Conference Board consumer confidence index showed improvement and rose from 46.4 to 52.5. It’s indicative of the uneven data collected by NAR earlier this month, which Laurence Yun dubiously blamed on the weather.
It’s a temporary stabilization. Foreclosures are still going to bite the market. Given the preponderance of negative housing data, we may see another leg down.
—Joseph Brusuelas, president of Brusuelas Analytics, offering a perspective not far from an aging consensus: via Bloomberg.
There is little doubt that housing ’stabilization’ continues although the influx of four million new foreclosures, both on-the-market and shadow inventories that remain elevated, 30 year mortgage rates that are solidly through the 5.1% level and an unemployment rate that remains elevated will all likely continue to put downward pressure on demand and thus prices
–Dan Greenhaus, Miller Tabak & Co.: via WSJ