There is already a debate over whether or not the underwater mortgage bailout plan can do any good at all. Now we have data from the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices that some are trying to represent as a gain. Unfortunately that gain all depends upon how you look at the data. The number is still down on a comparable basis year over year and there are far more cities which showed a drop sequentially even from the month-over-month period before.
Today’s data through August 2011 showed increases of +0.2% for the 10-City and 20-City composite readings in August versus July. Unfortunately, if you use the year-over-year comparison as the bulk of us do then the 10-City and 20-City readings were -3.5% and -3.8% respectively.
On a year-over-year basis, the only two cities which actually saw some price increases were Detroit at +2.7% and Washington D.C. at +0.3%. For the period of August over July, the cities posting gains were as follows: Charlotte +0.2%, Chicago +1.4%, Cleveland +0.3%, Dallas +0.2%, Denver +0.4%, Detroit +1.4%, Minneapolis +0.4%, New York +0.4%, Portland +0.1%, Washington D.C. +1.6%.
The cities which still saw declines month-over-month were Atlanta -2.4%, Boston -0.1%, Las Vegas -0.3%, Los Angeles -0.4%, Miami -0.3%, Phoenix -0.1%, San Diego -0.2%, San Francisco -0.1%, Seattle -0.3%, and Tampa -0.1%. Using the monthly comparisons look much worse over the August to July period versus the July to June period. In the July over June period, only Las Vegas and Phoenix were in the red and Denver was flat.
Today may be portrayed as a victory, but keep in mind that this data still represents the summer selling season as it is August data. We generally use the yearly comparisons rather than the monthly comparisons.
JON C. OGG