A look at our July 2009 National Housing Report

July 16, 2009

by Mike Simonsen


Last week we released our monthly National Housing Report for July 2009. In it, we examine the most recent trends in the biggest metro markets around the country.

What’s going on in the US housing market this month?

  • The Altos Research 10-City Composite Index was up by 1.3% in June and 3.9% for April, May, and June. Prices increased in 22 of 26 markets.
  • There is some recent evidence, not yet reflected in the data in this report that the home price rebound peaked in early June, and prices may resume a decline for the near-term future. In the National Real Estate Report, we use our 90-day rolling average to illustrate the trends in the market (the orange line below), but the weekly samples appear to have peaked.
Altos Research 10-City Composite Median Price for Single Family Homes.

Altos Research 10-City Composite Median Price for Single Family Homes in May, June, and July 2009. Note the black line (the weekly sample) showing it's peak right at the end of May.

The Altos 10-City Composite Index continues to highlight a shift in properties available on the market. In the second quarter of 2009, market finally experienced some turnover at the low-end (two years after the first sub-prime collapse).  You can imagine that cheap mortgage rates for conforming and government-backed loans is driving this phenomenon, while hard-to-come-by jumbos are stagnating.

  • Of the markets hit hardest by the bubble burst, Las Vegas is still getting hit the hardest with prices falling 2.1% this month. The good news for the Las Vegas real estate market is that June’s decline was markedly slower rate of decline than the 3 – 4% monthly declines in home prices they’ve been seeing for several years.
  • Perhaps the most interesting phenomenon of the last three months has been the inventory trend. Compared to 2008, inventory of homes available for sale has remained quite restrained. This trend, of course, is a composite of 10 big metro markets. The hardest hit markets still have tons available, but the explosion of newly available homes has ceased for now.
Inventory trend of homes in the Altos 10-City Composite.

Inventory trend of homes in the Altos 10-City Composite.

One final note on methodology: The monthly National Real Estate Report looks at single family home data in 26 major metro markets around the country. The Altos 10-City Composite rolls up the statistics for a view of just 10 of those “cities”. In this case a City is defined at the Census Bureau Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). Included in the 10-City Composite are New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, Las Vegas, Washington DC, San Diego, San Francisco, Boston, and Denver.

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