Case-Shiller Indices: Is it a Good Time to Buy Real Estate?

Case-Shiller Indices: Is it a Good Time to Buy Real Estate?

S&P Dow Jones Indices today released the latest results for the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices, the leading measure of U.S. home prices. Data released today for May 2020 show that home prices continue to increase at a modest rate across the U.S. More than 27 years of history are available for these data series, and can be accessed in full by going to www.spdji.com.

Please note that transaction records for March, April and May 2020 for Wayne County, MI are unavailable due to delays at the local recording office caused by the COVID-19 lockdown. Since Wayne is the most populous county in the Detroit metro area, S&P Dow Jones Indices and CoreLogic are unable to generate a valid March, April and May 2020 update of the Detroit S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller indices for the July release.

When the sale transaction data flow resumes for Wayne County, S&P Dow Jones Indices and CoreLogic will provide estimated Detroit index values for months with missing updates.

YEAR-OVER-YEAR 
The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index, covering all nine U.S. census divisions, reported a 4.5% annual gain in May, down from 4.6% in the previous month. The 10-City Composite annual increase came in at 3.1%, down from 3.3% in the previous month. The 20-City Composite posted a 3.7% year-over-year gain, down from 3.9% in the previous month.

Phoenix, Seattle and Tampa reported the highest year-over-year gains among the 19 cities (excluding Detroit) in May. Phoenix led the way with a 9.0% year-over-year price increase, followed by Seattle with a 6.8% increase and Tampa with a 6.0% increase. Three of the 19 cities reported higher price increases in the year ending May 2020 versus the year ending April 2020. 

MONTH-OVER-MONTH
The National Index posted a 0.7% month-over-month increase, while the 10-City and 20-City Composites posted increases of 0.3% and 0.4% respectively before seasonal adjustment in May. After seasonal adjustment, the National Index posted a month-over-month increase of 0.1%, while the 10-City and 20-City Composites did not post any gains. In May, 17 of 19 cities (excluding Detroit) reported increases before seasonal adjustment, while 11 of the 19 cities reported increases after seasonal adjustment.

ANALYSIS
“May’s housing price data were stable,” says Craig J. Lazzara, Managing Director and Global Head of Index Investment Strategy at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “The National Composite Index rose by 4.5% in May 2020, with comparable growth in the 10- and 20-City Composites (up 3.1% and 3.7%, respectively). In contrast with the past eight months, May’s gains were less than April’s. Although prices increased in May, in other words, they did so at a decelerating rate. We observed an analogous development at the city level: prices increased in all 19 cities for which we have data, but accelerated in only 3 of them (in contrast with 12 cities last month and 18 the month before that).

“More data will obviously be required in order to know whether May’s report represents a reversal of the previous path of accelerating prices or merely a slight deviation from an otherwise intact trend. Even if prices continue to decelerate, that is quite different from an environment in which prices actually decline.

“Among the cities, Phoenix retains the top spot for the 12th consecutive month, with a gain of 9.0% for May. Home prices in Seattle rose by 6.8%, followed by Tampa at 6.0%.  As has been the case for the last several months, prices were particularly strong in the West and Southeast, and comparatively weak in the Northeast.”

SUPPORTING DATA 
Table 1 below shows the housing boom/bust peaks and troughs for the three composites along with the current levels and percentage changes from the peaks and troughs.

2006 Peak2012 TroughCurrent
IndexLevelDateLevelDateFrom Peak (%)LevelFrom Trough (%)From Peak (%)
National184.61Jul-06134.00Feb-12-27.4%218.8763.3%18.6%
20-City206.52Jul-06134.07Mar-12-35.1%224.7667.6%8.8%
10-City226.29Jun-06146.45Mar-12-35.3%236.9861.8%4.7%

Table 2 below summarizes the results for May 2020. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices are revised for the prior 24 months, based on the receipt of additional source data.

May 2020May/AprilApril/March1-Year
Metropolitan AreaLevelChange (%)Change (%)Change (%)
Atlanta158.940.5%0.8%4.2%
Boston231.350.4%1.4%4.3%
Charlotte172.570.8%1.1%5.4%
Chicago146.960.7%1.0%1.3%
Cleveland132.001.2%1.6%5.7%
Dallas196.710.5%0.7%2.8%
Denver231.390.5%1.0%3.9%
Detroit
Las Vegas200.780.3%0.8%4.2%
Los Angeles297.000.4%0.7%3.7%
Miami252.700.3%0.6%4.0%
Minneapolis186.760.8%1.9%5.5%
New York204.880.0%0.4%2.1%
Phoenix208.250.9%1.4%9.0%
Portland248.140.9%0.6%4.2%
San Diego273.510.4%1.2%5.2%
San Francisco275.59-0.2%0.5%2.2%
Seattle271.450.6%1.4%6.8%
Tampa231.530.3%0.9%6.0%
Washington241.940.6%0.7%3.5%
Composite-10236.980.3%0.7%3.1%
Composite-20224.760.4%0.8%3.7%
U.S. National218.870.7%1.0%4.5%
Sources: S&P Dow Jones Indices and CoreLogic
Data through May 2020

Table 3 below shows a summary of the monthly changes using the seasonally adjusted (SA) and non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) data. Since its launch in early 2006, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices have published, and the markets have followed and reported on, the non-seasonally adjusted data set used in the headline indices. For analytical purposes, S&P Dow Jones Indices publishes a seasonally adjusted data set covered in the headline indices, as well as for the 17 of 20 markets with tiered price indices and the five condo markets that are tracked.

May/April Change (%)April/March Change (%)
Metropolitan AreaNSASANSASA
Atlanta0.5%0.0%0.8%0.1%
Boston0.4%0.1%1.4%0.4%
Charlotte0.8%0.4%1.1%0.5%
Chicago0.7%0.0%1.0%0.1%
Cleveland1.2%0.2%1.6%1.3%
Dallas0.5%0.2%0.7%0.1%
Denver0.5%0.2%1.0%0.4%
Detroit
Las Vegas0.3%-0.1%0.8%0.3%
Los Angeles0.4%0.2%0.7%0.3%
Miami0.3%0.1%0.6%0.5%
Minneapolis0.8%-0.7%1.9%1.4%
New York0.0%-0.1%0.4%0.3%
Phoenix0.9%0.6%1.4%1.1%
Portland0.9%0.1%0.6%-0.3%
San Diego0.4%0.0%1.2%0.8%
San Francisco-0.2%-0.5%0.5%-0.2%
Seattle0.6%-0.2%1.4%-0.2%
Tampa0.3%0.4%0.9%0.7%
Washington0.6%0.1%0.7%-0.3%
Composite-100.3%0.0%0.7%0.2%
Composite-200.4%0.0%0.8%0.2%
U.S. National0.7%0.1%1.0%0.4%
Sources: S&P Dow Jones Indices and CoreLogic
Data through May 2020

For more information about S&P Dow Jones Indices, please visit www.spdji.com.

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S. Jack Heffernan Ph.D. Funds Manager at HEFFX holds a Ph.D. in Economics and brings with him over 25 years of trading experience in Asia and hands on experience in Venture Capital, he has been involved in several start ups that have seen market capitalization over $500m and 1 that reach a peak market cap of $15b. He has managed and overseen start ups in Mining, Shipping, Technology and Financial Services.

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