Bill McBride over at CalculatedRisk has a simultaneously chilling and uplifting post on the US housing market:
There have been some recent articles arguing the “housing bottom is nowhere in sight”. That isn’t my view.
First there are two bottoms for housing. The first is for new home sales, housing starts and residential investment. The second bottom is for prices. Sometimes these bottoms can happen years apart.
For the economy and jobs, the bottom for housing starts and new home sales is more important than the bottom for prices. However individual homeowners and potential home buyers are naturally more interested in prices. So when we discuss a “bottom” for housing, we need to be clear on what we mean.
For new home sales and housing starts, it appears the bottom is in, and I expect an increase in both starts and sales in 2012…
And it now appears we can look for the bottom in prices. My guess is that nominal house prices, using the national repeat sales indexes and not seasonally adjusted, will bottom in March 2012.
The problem with using the house price indexes to look for a bottom is that they are reported with a significant lag. As an example, the recently released Case-Shiller index was for November and the index is an average of September, October and November – so it is a report for several months ago. The CoreLogic index is a little more current – the recent release was for December, and CoreLogic uses a weighted average for prices (December weighted the most) – but that is still quite a lag.
Both of those indexes will bottom seasonally around March, and then start increasing again.
What planet is McBride on anyways? For many Vancouver is different because it is inconceivable that it’s the same. Inconceivable.