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Market Reports

[Special Report] 3Q 2010 Manhattan Rental Market Overview

October 18, 2010 | 9:24 am | Podcasts |

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[Special Report] 3Q 2010 Manhattan Market Overview

October 1, 2010 | 2:43 pm | | Podcasts |

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[Special Report] 2Q 2010 Queens Market Overview

July 15, 2010 | 11:35 pm | | Podcasts |

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[Special Report] 2Q 2010 Brooklyn Market Overview

July 15, 2010 | 11:17 pm | | Podcasts |

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[Special Report] 2Q 2010 Manhattan Rental Market Overview

July 15, 2010 | 11:01 pm | | Podcasts |

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[Special Report] 2Q 2010 Manhattan Market Overview

July 1, 2010 | 1:09 am | | Podcasts |

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[FHFA] U.S. Monthly House Price Index Up 0.8% M-O-M, Down 12.8% From Peak

June 23, 2010 | 9:54 am | |

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FHFA, the oversight agency for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, released their monthly US Housing Price Index for April. The index shows some stabilization since January however, April is the last month of the federal tax credit for first time buyers and existing homeowners so it would be reasonable to expect declines over the next 2-3 months.

U.S. house prices rose 0.8 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from March to April, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s monthly House Price Index. The previously reported 0.3 percent increase in March was revised to a 0.1 percent increase. For the 12 months ending in April, U.S. prices fell 1.5 percent. The U.S. index is 12.8 percent below its April 2007 peak.

Index Background
The index lags NAR’s Existing Home Sale by one month but it is a repeat sales index rather than an aggregate report. The index tracks Fannie and Freddie purchases mortgages where they acquire the paper or provide a guaranty, which dominates the mortgage business and provides the standardization that the secondary mortgage market relies on. This promotes liquidity of the US mortgage market but is limited to conforming mortgages of $417,000 in most of the country and $729,750 in designated high priced housing markets like the NYC metro area.

As a result of its data source, this repeat sales index is NOT a proxy for the US Housing market because it is skewed toward the sub-million housing market, roughly 80% of the US housing stock but is performing much better than the remainder because of the standardization provided by the former GSEs (Fannie and Freddie) and the backing of the federal government. Still, it represents the majority of the US housing market and warrants observation.

Since I am wary of seasonal adjustments my chart tracks the non-seasonally adjusted index, even though the press release relies on seasonal adjustments – the trend is the same but the month over months vary somewhat.


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[NAR] Existing Home Sales Decline 2.2%, But a ‘Northeaster’ Weighed Down the Results

June 22, 2010 | 12:55 pm | |


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NAR released its May existing home sales report today. This was one of the most bizarre existing home sale reports I can recall.

First of all, the expectation of a drop in sales activity was widely expected due to the end of the federal tax credit, yet economists surveyed were anticipating an increase in sales in May? Real estate professionals were bracing themselves for a decline in sales in May.

Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires expected existing-home sales to climb by 5.0%, to a rate of 6.06 million. The surprise decline followed two increases driven by a tax incentive for first-time buyers that the government enacted to spur a housing sector recovery.

I viewed the impact of the tax credit as “poaching” sales from the next 60-90 days rather than a vehicle to jump start the housing market. We really need jobs first.

But if you look closely at the data, M-O-M sales were up or flat in each of the 3 regions except the northeast, which posted an 18.3% seasonally adjusted decline.

The report headline was generally accurate “May Shows a Continued Strong Pace for Existing-Home Sales” if you remove the northeast from consideration.

Sales price showed the same pattern. While US prices were up 2.7% M-O-M, the northeast prices declined 2.2%.


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My interpretation of this “Northeaster” centers around foreclosures. The south and west posted significant foreclosure activity and price declines nearly 2 years ahead of the northeast. The midwest hasn’t seen the same volatility as the other regions. Perhaps the west and south have been pummeled enough that they are actually seeing a bottom in both sales and prices trends. Foreclosure activity is flowing freely while the northeast seems to be lagging in that regard.

Ok, I’m reaching through generalizations but why the disparity by region?

Here are this month’s metrics:

  • existing-home sales fell 2.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.66 million units in May down from a revised 5.790 million in April
  • existing-home sales are 19.2 percent higher than the 5.1 million-unit pace in May 2009.
  • housing inventory fell 3.4 percent to 3.89 million existing homes available for sale from April 10 but is 1.1% above last year
  • there is an 8.3-month supply down from an 8.4-month supply in April and down from a 9.7 month supply last year.
  • national median existing-home price was $179,600 in May, up 2.7 percent from May 2009.
  • distressed homes accounted for 31 percent of sales last month, compared with 33 percent in April 10 and 33 percent in May 09.


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[The Housing Helix Podcast] Nicholas Retsinas, Director, Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies

June 21, 2010 | 12:07 pm | Podcasts |

I have a great conversation with Nicholas Retsinas, Director, Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. He and his staff just released The State of the Nation’s Housing 2010, a must read overview of the challenges facing the US housing market.

Here are other resources published by JCHS.

Check out the podcast.

The Housing Helix Podcast Interview List

You can subscribe on iTunes or simply listen to the podcast on my other blog The Housing Helix.


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[Interview] Nicholas Retsinas, Director, Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies

June 21, 2010 | 11:57 am | Podcasts |

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[CoreLogic] Home Price Index 2.6% YOY and 0.8% MOM Increase

June 21, 2010 | 9:58 am | |


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CoreLogic (Formerly First American) released their Home Price Index Report for April 2010

“The monthly increase in the HPI shows the lingering effects of the homebuyer tax credit,” said Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic. “We expect that we will see home prices remain strong through early summer, but in the second half of the year we expect price growth to soften and possibly decline moderately.”

Of the biggest markets, Washington DC best, Chicago worst:

Of the 50 states, Idaho and Illinois show largest YOY decline:

Notes: The index is a compilation of repeat sales transactions going back to the mid-1970s, from CoreLogic’s own property information and its securities and servicing databases covering all 50 states. The index tracks increases and decreases in sales prices for the same homes over time, which provides a more accurate “constant-quality” view of pricing trends than basing analysis on all home sales.

The report is the only major one I am aware of that breaks out distressed properties from actual – I tend to ignore the breakdown since I don’t see these markets as mutually exclusive. In other words, distressed properties compete with non-distressed and by simply removing the distressed properties from the mix, price trends of the non-distressed properties were still impacted by distressed sales.



[Commerce Dept] US Housing Starts May 2010

June 17, 2010 | 7:30 am |


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May housing starts, seasonally adjusted, fell sharply with the expiration of the tax credit – signed contract by April 30. No surprises here. I suspect we’ll see similar levels for a few months. The tax credit likely “poached” sales from future months rather than jump start the housing market.

Privately-owned housing starts in May were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 593,000. This is 10.0 percent (±10.3%) below the revised April estimate of 659,000, but is 7.8 percent (±9.7%) above the May 2009 rate of 550,000. Single-family housing starts in May were at a rate of 468,000; this is 17.2 percent (±7.9%) below the revised April figure of 565,000. The May rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 112,000.

I’ve long marveled at the stats in this report (sarcasm) – notice the margin of error in the above paragraph. Still, it’s the standard reporting method for new housing starts.

The chart above is intended to provide perspective to any month over month gains. The peak for housing starts was January 2006 at $2.3M annual starts, 3.8 times the seasonally adjusted annualized rate.

NEW RESIDENTIAL CONSTRUCTION IN MAY 2010 [U.S. Department of Commerce]


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