Case Shiller Home Prices Index Show Weakness in August

By Mark Lieberman

Managing Director and Senior Economist

Highlights:

  • Case Shiller CoreLogic 20-city index FELL in August for the first time in almost two years, dropping 0.2 percent;
  • The 10-city index was UP 0.01 percent, the weakest improvement since October 2016 (when it fell 0.26 percent);
  • The national index increased 0.22 percent, weakest growth since February 2017;
  • Index ROSE in 12 of the 20 cities surveyed in August; in July the index improved in 18 cities;
  • For the first time in a year, year-year price growth (in the national index) slipped below 6.0 percent.

Trends:

  • All three index readings remained above their previous peak;
  • The National Index set a record high for the 20th straight month;

Data Source: S&P Case Schiller/Core Logic

Image result for home prices

Growth in home values, measured by the Case Shiller Core Logic Home Price Index reversed itself in August showing the impact of tax changes enacted by Congress last year making homeownership less attractive from a tax standpoint.

Indeed, home price growth according to both the Case-Schiller 10- and 20-city index has been slowing since April. Nationally, home price growth has been falling since May.

The fall in prices though has not stimulated sales. Existing home sales have been down month-month since April, according to data from the National Association of Realtors. The median price of an existing single-family home is down almost six percent in the last three months.  As a result, the number of homes for sale fell for the third straight month in September and the months’ supply of homes for sale rose to 4.4, the highest level since October 2016.

According to the Case-Schiller survey, prices rose 0.5 percent or more from July to August in just three cities – Cleveland, Detroit, and Tampa –compared with July when price growth topped 0.5 percent in six cities.

Prices rose 0.4 percent from July to August in the Midwest, 0.2 percent in the South and were flat in the Northeast. Prices fell 0.4 percent in Western cities which dominate the survey.

Prices rose year-year in all 20 cities but in all 20 cities, but the year-year increase was slower in 13 cities than it had been a month ago.

While the slower price increases could have a positive impact on home sales, those sales still face challenges with increasing mortgage rates as well as the tax law changes.

Hear Mark Lieberman this Friday on P.O.T.U.S. radio’s Morning Briefing, Sirius-XM 124, at 6:20 am Eastern Time. You can follow Mark Lieberman on Twitter at @foxeconomics.

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