Not by a lot, though, as we shall see:  First, though, the good news.

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 3.8% annual gain in December, up from 3.5% in the previous month. The 10-City Composite annual increase came in at 2.4%, up from 2.0% in the previous month. The 20-City Composite posted a 2.9% year-over-year gain, up from 2.5% in the previous month.
Phoenix, Charlotte and Tampa reported the highest year-over-year gains among the 20 cities. In December, Phoenix led the way with a 6.5% year-over-year price increase, followed by Charlotte with a 5.3% increase and Tampa with a 5.2% increase. Twelve of the 20 cities reported greater price increases in the year ending December 2019 versus the year ending November 2019.  

The problem, though is when we look at the December data portion of the report:

MONTH-OVER-MONTH
The National Index posted a month-over-month increase of 0.1%, while the 10-City Composite posted a 0.1% increase and the 20-City Composite did not post any gains before seasonal adjustment in December. After seasonal adjustment, the National Index posted a month-over-month increase of 0.5%, while the 10-City and 20-City Composites both posted 0.4% increases. In December, 10 of 20 cities reported increases before seasonal adjustment while 19 of 20 cities reported increases after seasonal adjustment.

I assume you remember my teachings on “seasonal adjustments?”  They’re sort of like crack – addictive.  And mostly, not too useful except they sure make you feel good…

OK, so the price picture?

As always, three keys to keep in mind here:

  1. These are raw prices.  Remember there’s a cost of sales that is not included.
  2. Second is inflation.  Go to the Minneapolis Fed website and plug in the inflation adjusting numbers and the gains will moderate.  Still, buying a home using leverage intelligently is a good way to get ahead and move up the social conveyor.

New is our #3 bit of advice:  Get a home big enough to actually enjoy any coming “isolations” or “lockdowns” in.

After the numbers, Dow futures were up 125…dead cat bounce, anyone?

More on the ‘morrow.