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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Is There a Long-Run Upward Trend in Housing Prices?

There's time for one more quick one: Calculated Risk versus Robert Shiller on the long-term trend in real housing prices. Is the trend flat, as Shiller contends, or upward sloping?:

The upward slope of Real House Prices, by Calculated Risk: A year ago, Dave Altig asked Just how out of line are house prices?. Dr. Altig's post featured both a price-to-rent graph and a real house price graph originally from the NY Times based on Professor Robert Shiller's work.
The price-to-rent ratio graph Dr Altig presented seemed to show that house prices were getting back to normal, but the graph based on Professor Shiller's work seemed to suggest that house prices could fall much further. Below is an updated graph from Shiller through Q4 2011.

The Shiller graph has suggested to many observers that house prices ... adjusted for inflation are stable - except for bubbles... Last year I pointed out the slope depends on the data series used, and that if Professor Shiller had used either Corelogic or the Freddie Mac house prices series, before Case-Shiller was available, there would a greater upward slope to his graph.

An upward slope to real prices makes sense to me as I've argued before: "In many areas - if the population is increasing - house prices increase slightly faster than inflation over time, so there is an upward slope for real prices."
This is the updated graph from Professor Shiller.

Shiller Real House Prices
Click on graph for larger image in new window.

...[The next] graph shows the upward slope for both real price indexes. Even the Shiller "Irrational Exuberance" real price index has an upward slope (about 0.5% per year) - and the CoreLogic upward slope is steeper (about 1.5% per year).

Shiller and CoreLogic HPI real house prices

Right now the real CoreLogic HPI is only slightly above the trend line (it could overshoot), and the Case-Shiller national index will probably be just above the trend line when the Q1 data is released.

This would suggest nominal prices are at the bottom (and real prices are close too). This is one reason I think the Case-Shiller and Corelogic house prices indexes probably stopped falling, NSA, in March 2012 (the March data will be released next month).

    Posted by on Sunday, April 29, 2012 at 10:08 AM Permalink  Comments (28)



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