Email of the day (1)
Comment of the Day

August 31 2011

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Email of the day (1)

on US house prices:
"I hope this finds you and your family well and thriving.

"US house prices: consolidation in an ongoing bear market, or base-building?

"I've attached a full graph of the (seasonally adjusted) Case-Shiller 10-city and 20-city indexes, through the latest data. The data was drawn from the S&P Case-Shiller website. I did an analysis of their seasonal adjustments (see second pdf) and concluded that the seasonal adjustments do not obscure the trend information. I thought the collective might find these price charts interesting.

"Cheers from cool and comfortable Northern California"

Eoin Treacy's view Thank you for these charts and your well wishes. It's a hive of activity in our home at present with our eldest starting Senior Infants and our second starting kindergarten tomorrow.

The Case-Shiller 10 and 20 indices can also be found in the Chart Library and coincide with your analysis. My intuition is that house prices in the USA are in the process of bottoming. However, this needs to be qualified with the distinction that bottoming activity and recovery are separate conditions. As with the end of most major bull markets supply exploded just as demand dried up and time is required for the inventory to be worked through.

Foreclosures have been a serious headwind. The pace of new foreclosures has decreased considerably over the last year but is still twice what it was in 2006. Stubbornly high unemployment rates are an additional headwind. On the demand side, affordability is at a record high and mortgage rates, if one can get access to credit, are close to historic lows. An additional growth slowdown could put additional pressure on the housing market

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