S&P/Case-Shiller HPI about in line but true test comes this summer

The Dec 20 city S&P/Case-Shiller home price index fell 3.08% y/o/y, about in line with expectations and fell .24% m/o/m NSA. Seasonally adjusting the m/o/m figure results in a rise of .32%. Of the 20 cities, 7 saw gains on a y/o/y basis, led by San Francisco, Dallas and San Diego. The y/o/y decline was led by Las Vegas which is down 20.6%, followed by Tampa, Detroit, Miami and Phoenix. Overall, the index fell to the lowest since July ’09. It is 4.8% above the low back in April ’09 but is down 29.4% from its record back in July ’06. The slowdown in the foreclosure rate (now about 1/3 of sales down from a high of 1/2), the home buying tax credit, and the artificial suppression of mortgage rates have all helped to cushion the decline in prices but when much of this wears off this summer, the market will be put to another test.

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