Category Archives: Economy

DofN: Real Home Prices and Real Borrowing Costs Since the Bottom

Real Home Prices and Real Borrowing Costs Since the Bottom

POSTED TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 04 2014

previously showed that continuously declining interest rates since 1980 have been a boon to the buying power of homeowners despite stagnant incomes. After the bursting of the housing bubble last decade and subsequent fall in home prices, the historically low interest rates that followed led to remarkably low payments for borrowers who could still qualify for mortgages these past few years. But we’ve long since put in a bottom for home prices. According to Case-Shiller’s 20 city aggregate that bottom came in February of 2012.

The chart above shows the change in real home prices (blue line) since the bottom. After February 2012 home prices began to rise while mortgage rates continued to fall. They fell enough in fact that their declines offset the rise in real home prices for another 8 months. That is, a borrower could obtain a lower mortgage payment via falling borrowing costs despite rising home prices. The bottom in terms of a monthly mortage payment didn’t come till October of 2012. The red line shows how mortgage payments have changed since then.

In short, real home prices have risen about 17% since the February 2012 bottom, but the real price in terms of borrowing costs have risen just over 26%. I don’t expect rates to leap in the near future, but if rates continue to rise with Fed tapering (they’re up about one percentage point from the bottom) it could have a notable impact on affordability for first-time buyers. On the other hand, low existing home inventory suggests there hasn’t been a significant falloff in demand yet and mortgage rates have been trending down again recently as well.

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CR: The Two Bottoms for Housing

Update: The Two Bottoms for Housing

by Bill McBride on 5/24/2013  

By request, I’ve updated the graphs in this post with the most recent data. Last year when I wrote The Housing Bottom is Here and Housing: The Two Bottoms, I pointed out there are usually two bottoms for housing: the first for new home sales, housing starts and residential investment, and the second bottom is for house prices.

For the bottom in activity, I presented a graph of Single family housing starts, New Home Sales, and Residential Investment (RI) as a percent of GDP.

When I posted that graph, the bottom wasn’t obvious to everyone. Now it is, and here is another update to that graph.

Starts, new home sales, residential Investment Click on graph for larger image.

The arrows point to some of the earlier peaks and troughs for these three measures.

The purpose of this graph is to show that these three indicators generally reach peaks and troughs together. Note that Residential Investment is quarterly and single-family starts and new home sales are monthly.

For the recent housing bust, the bottom was spread over a few years from 2009 into 2011. This was a long flat bottom – something a number of us predicted given the overhang of existing vacant housing units.

We could use any of these three measures to determine the first bottom, and then use the other two to confirm the bottom. These measure are very important and are probably the best leading indicators for the economy. But this says nothing about house prices.

Residential Investment and House prices The second graph compares RI as a percent of GDP with the real (adjusted for inflation) CoreLogic house price index through February.

Although the CoreLogic data only goes back to 1976, look at what happened following the early ’90s housing bust. RI as a percent of GDP bottomed in Q1 1991, but real house prices didn’t bottom until Q4 1996 (real prices were mostly flat for several years). Something similar happened in the early 1980s – first activity bottomed, and then real prices – although the two bottoms were closer in the ’80s.

Now it appears activity bottomed in 2009 through 2011 (depending on the measure) and real house prices bottomed in early 2012.

Read more at http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/2013/05/update-two-bottoms-for-housing.html#Xos7EeY1TxJ1aVPg.99

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