Let’s roll with the data in the Case-Shiller Housing data just out:
The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index, covering all nine U.S. census divisions, reported a 4.4% annual gain in March, up from 4.2% in the previous month. The 10-City Composite annual increase came in at 3.4%, up from 3.0% in the previous month. The 20-City Composite posted a 3.9% year-over-year gain, up from 3.5% in the previous month.
Phoenix, Seattle and Charlotte reported the highest year-over-year gains among the 19 cities (excluding Detroit for the month). In March, Phoenix led the way with an 8.2% year-over-year price increase, followed by Seattle with a 6.9% increase and Charlotte with a 5.8% increase. Seventeen of the 19 cities reported higher price increases in the year ending March 2020 versus the year ending February 2020.
The National Index posted a 0.8% month-over-month increase, while the 10-City and 20-City Composites posted increases of 1.0% and 1.1% respectively before seasonal adjustment in March. After seasonal adjustment, the National Index and the 20-City Composite posted a month-over-month increase of 0.5%, while the 10-City Composite a posted 0.4% increase. In March, all 19 cities (excluding Detroit) reported increases before seasonal adjustment as well as after seasonal adjustment.
“March’s data witnessed the first impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices,” says Craig J. Lazzara, Managing Director and Global Head of Index Investment Strategy at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “We have data from only 19 cities this month, since transactions records for Wayne County, Michigan (in the Detroit metropolitan area) were unavailable.
“That said, housing prices continue to be remarkably stable. The National Composite Index rose by 4.4% in March 2020, with comparable growth in the 10- and 20-City Composites (up 3.4% and 3.9%, respectively). In all three cases, March’s year-over-year gains were ahead of February’s, continuing a trend of gently accelerating home prices that began last autumn. March results were broad-based. Prices rose in each of the 19 cities for which we have reported data, and price increases accelerated in 17 cities. “
It’s good – means people are still confident about the future. But, we fear it also has a lot to do with how much “easy money” the Fed has been printing up. Driving prices higher, again higher.
We would emphasize several points with this report.
- It’s old data – MARCH.
- There’s a virus angle to it as a technical note says: “Please note, due to deed availability delays at the local recording office caused by the COVID-19 crisis, sale transaction records for March 2020 for Wayne County, MI have not been accounted for. Since Wayne is the most populous county in the Detroit metro area, S&P Dow Jones Indices and CoreLogic are unable to generate a valid March 2020 update of the Detroit S&P CoreLogic CaseShiller indices for the May release. “
- The prices are not inflation-adjusted.
- And this is prices only – remember in real estate there’s always a commission spread around somewhere.
Not that any of this matters, as stock futures after the days were up 575 on the Dow.