Case-Shiller Indices Show Fastest Gain in 6 Years

Home prices rose at their fastest pace since July 2006, according to Standard and Poor’s Case-Shiller 10- and 20-city Home Price Indices. At the same time, the Case-Shiller national index, reported quarterly, registered its strongest gain since Q2 2006.

The 10- and 20-city indices each rose 0.2 percent in December, reversing declines in November. Year-over-year, the 10-city index was up 5.9 percent, and the 20-city index rose 6.8 percent. The national index was up 7.3 percent year-over-year.

The yearly gain in the 20-city index matched the consensus forecast.

The gain in the overall 20-city index was tempered by drops in prices in 11 cities with no distinct pattern. Prices fell month-over-month in four Midwest cities (Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, and Minneapolis), three cities in the West (Denver, Portland, and Seattle) and two cities in each of the South (Charlotte and Dallas) and the Northeast (New York and Washington, D.C.).

Prices rose in 19 of the 20 cities on a year-over-year basis, falling only in New York.

The month-over-month price gains were led by Las Vegas (up 1.8 percent), Los Angeles (up 1.1 percent), Phoenix (up 0.9 percent), Miami (up 0.8 percent), and San Francisco (up 0.7 percent). Of the nine cities that registered price gains, five were in the West, three were in the South, and one was in the Northeast.

The monthly price declines were led by Chicago (-0.7 percent), followed by Detroit (-0.6 percent), and Portland and Seattle (-0.5 percent each).

Year-over-year, prices registered double-digit percentage improvements in Phoenix (23.0 percent), San Francisco (14.4 percent), Detroit (13.6 percent), Las Vegas (12.9 percent), and Minneapolis (12.2 percent).

The annual price drop in New York City was 0.5 percent.

Year-over-year price improvements in Phoenix have been over 20 percent for four straight months, but prices there are still down 44.9 percent from their June 2006 peak.

Indeed, prices in every city in survey remain below their historic highs, led by Las Vegas, where prices are off 56.4 percent from their August 2006 high.

At 158.49, the 10-city index is down 30.0 percent from its June 2006 high of 226.29, and the 20-city index—at 145.95—is off 29.3 percent from its July 2006 peak of 206.52.

The quarterly index fell in the fourth quarter for the first time since the first quarter of 2012 but was up year-over-year for the third straight quarter.

Hear Mark Lieberman Friday on P.O.T.U.S. radio, Sirius-XM 124, at 6:40 a.m. and again at 9:40 a.m. EST.

 

Freddie Mac: Rental Sector Shows Growth, but Lacks Affordability

In a blog post, a Freddie Mac executive revealed more than one-third of U.S. households are renters, the largest share since 1997, yet adequate, affordable rental housing is still out of reach for many.

According to David Brickman, SVP of multifamily at Freddie Mac, the nation has seen 5.4 million new renter households between 2004 and 2011, and growth is expected to continue. Brickman named several factors driving the increase, including demographic trends such as baby boomers who no longer want to own, younger people waiting longer to buy, former homeowners who weren’t able to stay in their homes, along with other reasons such as higher credit standards to buy and changing attitudes toward homeownership.

John Tashjian, principal at Centurion Real Estate Partners in New York City, explained the housing decline has “left a deep and lasting impression on the psyche of Americans as potential homeowners.”

“This drop in consumer confidence has caused a rush toward rental housing which, in turn, has caused rents to rise nationwide and a decline in affordable rental housing stock,” he said.

Citing data from a 2000-2011 survey from the U.S. Census Bureau, Brickman noted more than half of all renters in the country exhaust more than 30 percent of their income on housing, and 30 percent of renters spend at least 50 percent of their income on housing. Generally, if housing costs do not exceed 30 percent of income, housing is considered affordable. For renters, the cost would include rent plus tenant-paid utilities.

Brickman also highlighted efforts from Freddie Mac to support affordable housing, stating, “adequate rental housing is in ourDNA,” whether economic times are good or bad.

“In contrast, private funding sources (such as life insurance companies, banks, and conduits) tend to focus mainly on high-end properties and top-tier markets along the U.S. coasts. And in times of economic stress, private sources tend to leave the market altogether,” he added.

From 2005 through 2012, the GSE has financed nearly 2.6 million rental units. During those years, Brickman stated on average, more than 90 percent of the units were affordable to middle-income households and nearly 80 percent were affordable to lower-income households.

Brickman also added many of the properties financed would likely have trouble securing funding elsewhere, with a large majority more than 10 years old and in need of capital improvements.

David Lichtenstein, chairman and CEO of The Lightstone Group, also underscored the importance of offering affordable housing.

“Affordable housing has proven to be the bastion of the housing industry. With the record number of foreclosures and the coloratura decline in home ownership, Freddie Mac has emerged as the hero of America’s working middle class,” Lichtenstein said.

California Cities Post Highest Single-Family Rent Increases

California cities claimed seven spots on a top 10 list of cities experiencing the highest rental price increases for three-bedroom, single-family homes.

RentRange, LLC, a Westminster, Colorado-based data and analytics provider for the single-family rental market observed changes in rent prices for three-bedroom, single-family homes located in cities with at least 25,000 residents.

The data firm found the greatest growth in La Quinta, California, where rents increased 35.75 percent from December 2011 to December 2012.

The city’s single-family rents rose $932 over the year to a median rent price of $2,607.

Fullerton, California, ranked second with a rent increase of 26.1 percent, $605; and Palm Springs, California, ranked third with an increase of 20.55 percent, $391.

Not only, did California cities dominate the top 10 list, but three of the top 10 cities were located in the same county—Riverside County, California.

Riverside cities claimed the No. 1, No. 3, and No. 7 spots on the list.

The anomalous non-California cities on RentRange’s list were Harker Heights, Texas, ranking No. 4 with a 20.52 percent increase; Sarasota, Florida, ranking No. 7 with a 16.57 percent increase; and Mableton, Georgia, ranking No. 9 with a 15.93 percent increase.

“Rental price movement over time is one of many important metrics that investors utilize when evaluating suitable marketplaces,” said Walter Charnoff, founder and CEO of RentRange.

“As popular markets become saturated with investment activity it is important for purchasers to leverage specialized rental market intelligence to identify attractive markets that competitors have yet to notice,” Charnoff added.

CoreLogic: Prices End 2012 with Biggest Annual Gain in Six Years

National home prices ended the year by posting their biggest annual gain since May 2006, and prices rose in December for the 10th consecutive month, CoreLogic reported Tuesday.

The data provider’s Home Price Index (HPI) registered a year-over-year increase of 8.3 percent in December when including distressed sales. From November to December, prices barely moved higher, increasing just 0.4 percent.

In January, the forward looking Pending HPI projects prices will rise 7.9 percent on a yearly basis in January, but fall by 1 percent on a monthly basis due to the typical seasonal decline.

“We are heading into 2013 with home prices on the rebound,” said Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic. “The upward trend in home prices in 2012 was broad based with 46 of 50 states registering gains for the year. All signals point to a continued improvement in the fundamentals underpinning the U.S. housing market recovery.”

The index also revealed all but four states saw prices improve on a yearly basis. The four states were Delaware (-3.4 percent), Illinois (-2.7 percent), New Jersey (-0.9 percent) and Pennsylvania (-0.5 percent).

Over a one-year period, Arizona experienced the biggest increase in prices—20.2 percent. The remaining states in the top five also saw double-digit gains: Nevada (+15.3 percent), Idaho (+14.6 percent), California (+12.6 percent), and Hawaii (+12.5 percent).

Out of the top 100 metropolitan areas as measured by population, only 16 experienced annual price declines in December.

Phoenix led the metros with its 22.9 percent annual increase and was followed by another hard-hit metro, Riverside (+11.3 percent). The remaining three metros in the top five were Los Angeles (+9.8 percent), New York (+8.5 percent), and Washington D.C. (+7.5 percent).

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