The Mortgage Corner
The S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index is the bell weather for real estate and home prices these days. It not only reports housing prices, but what affects those prices, and jobs have to be the most important indicator of housing health. So it’s probably not surprising that cities in the Case-Shiller 20-city index that have the fastest job growth also have the highest price growth.
For instance, Dallas, San Francisco, Tampa and Denver all had approximately 9-10 percent annual price increases and 3 percent plus annual job growth. Before seasonal adjustment, the 10-City and 20-City Composites posted gains of 1.0 percent and 1.1 percent month-over-month, respectively.
But after seasonal adjustment, the 10- and 20-city composites were up just 0.3 percent and 0.4 percent. This is a far less meaningful statistic, as the ‘seasonal adjustment’ means above what is normal for that time of year. So prices actually rose 1 to 1.1 percent on average, a huge increase and why housing in cities such as San Francisco is becoming so expensive. That’s why all 20 cities reported increases in April before seasonal adjustment; but after seasonal adjustment, 12 were up and eight were down, said Calculated Risk.
Bottom line is that all depends on the job market, which is still growing robustly. The Labor Department’s JOLTS report said job openings are up and employers are holding onto the employees that they have. Job openings rose 0.5 percent in May to a record 5.363 million vs 5.334 million in April. The separations rate dipped 2 tenths to 3.3 percent with the quits rate unchanged at 1.9 percent but with the layoff rate down slightly.
The hiring rate also dipped 1 tenth to 3.5 percent perhaps reflecting the increasing difficulty of finding qualified employees. The unemployment rate is down to 5.3 percent, but that’s because more workers stopped looking for work than were added to payrolls.
So where is the housing market this selling season? Pending-home sales are booming at the highest rate in 9 years, which means good sales for the rest of 2015, since we believe interest rates can’t climb much more this year. Why? The Fed’s Janet Yellen said so in her most recent press conference. The 30-year fixed conforming rate even dropped briefly to 3.625 percent for 1 origination Pt. last week.
Harlan Green © 2015
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