Good News and Bad News For U.S. Housing (March-April 2012)

The S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index fell at the end of March to a new post-crisis low, but the rate of decline is slowing as you can see in chart #1. However, how does even a 0.5% increase in home prices year-over-year help the $1.2 trillion of negative equity outstanding and the 1.4 million vacant foreclosed homes on the market as a result of the systemic mortgage fraud and housing bubbles.

"New York, May 29, 2012 – Data through March 2012, released today by S&P Indices for its S&P/CaseShiller Home Price Indices, the leading measure of U.S. home prices, showed that all three headline composites ended the first quarter of 2012 at new post-crisis lows. The national composite fell by 2.0% in the first quarter of 2012 and was down 1.9% versus the first quarter of 2011. The 10- and 20-City Composites posted respective annual returns of -2.8% and -2.6% in March 2012. Month-over-month, their changes were minimal; average home prices in the 10-City Composite fell by 0.1% compared to February and the 20-City remained basically unchanged in March over February. However, with these latest data, all three composites still posted their lowest levels since the housing crisis began in mid-2006.

In addition to the three composites, five cities - Atlanta, Chicago, Las Vegas, New York and Portland - also saw average home prices hit new lows. This is an improvement over the nine cities reported last month." (source: S&P)

From WSJ's Developments blog today:

Today, it (Zillow) rolls out its new negative equity report, which shows, among other things, that nearly 16 million U.S. homeowners, or 31.4% of all homeowners with a mortgage, were under water in 2012. They owe $1.2 trillion more than the value of their homes. (source: WSJ)

Mortgage News Daily on CoreLogic's foreclosure inventory:

"The national foreclosure inventory in April contained 1.4 million homes or 3.4 percent of all homes in the country with a mortgage. This was unchanged from the previous month but was down .1 million or 0.1 percent from April 2011."

From a Lender Processing Services news release on May 22:

"LPS “First Look” Mortgage Report: April Month-End Data Shows Delinquencies Increase for the First Time in Nine Months. Delinquencies in April rise 0.4 percent over March's numbers"

Here are more charts from the S&P press release. S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index vs. % Change.

20 City Composite vs. 10 City Composite

Today, the National Association of Realtors reported that pending home sales fell by 5.5% in April, but the index is still up from April 2011.

"WASHINGTON (May 30, 2012) - Pending home sales retrenched in April following three consecutive monthly gains, but are notably higher than a year ago, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, declined 5.5 percent to 95.5 from a downwardly revised 101.1 in March but is 14.4 percent above April 2011 when it was 83.5. The data reflects contracts but not closings."

Here is NAR's take on the data. They are still bullish on housing.

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