Fewer sales and more delinquencies mean the housing market slips to just 32% back to normal, a new low for 2012
Each month, Trulia’s Housing Barometer charts how quickly the housing market is moving back to “normal.” We summarize three key housing market indicators: construction starts (Census), existing-home sales (NAR) and the delinquency-plus-foreclosure rate (LPS First Look). For each indicator, we compare this month’s data to (1) how bad the numbers got at their worst and (2) their pre-bubble “normal” levels.
In June 2012, construction starts improved, but existing home sales fell and the delinquency + foreclosure rate rose:
—Construction starts jumped. Starts rose in June to a 760,000 annualized rate, up 7% month-over-month and 24% year-over-year. Construction activity was especially strong in Texas and the Carolinas. Now, construction starts are 28% of the way back to normal.
—Existing home sales fell sharply, from 4.62 million in May to 4.37 million in June. Now, home sales are just 35% back to normal to from their worst point during the bust, down from 49% in May: they’re now much closer to their low of November 2008 than to their pre-bubble normal level. That’s a big slide. Tighter inventory, especially of distressed homes, held back sales.
—The delinquency + foreclosure rate went up. In June, 11.23% of mortgages were delinquent or in foreclosure, up from 11.08% in May. (LPS revised its historical data, which changed our barometer measure slightly.) The delinquency + foreclosure rate is 34% back to normal, down a bit from 36% in May.0 comments
Originally published on Bloomberg View on July 8, 2012.
House prices, after falling for more than five years, are rising again. All the major sales-price indexes show that there have been modest national increases in recent months, even after adjusting for seasonal patterns.
When foreclosures and distressed sales are excluded from the data, prices are up even more. And we should expect further gains: The asking-price index, a leading indicator of sales prices, published by Trulia Inc. (where I work), climbed at an annualized rate of 3.3 percent in the second quarter of this year, adjusted for mix and seasonality, and rose in 84 of the 100 largest U.S. metropolitan areas.
Of course, if the U.S. economy falters, due to a deepening of the economic crisis in Europe or a wave of foreclosures, prices may reverse. For now, though, the increases are widespread. For the real-estate market and housing policy, this is cause for relief, but also for some concern.
One immediate effect of the price turnaround is that inventory tightens. In the past year, beginning even before prices rose, the inventory of listed homes shrank 20 percent, due to fewer foreclosures for sale and little new construction. Smaller inventory contributes to price increases; when there are fewer homes available, sellers can ask more. In some local markets, bidding wars have returned. Now, rising prices could even accelerate the decrease in inventory in the short term, as buyers act quickly in hopes of paying as little as possible, and sellers hold off listing their homes in anticipation of further price increases. In fact, 61 percent of people do expect prices in their local market to rise in the next year, according to a recent Trulia survey.0 comments
Bankruptcies are usually a long, messy process of fixing problems that should have been tackled years ago.
In recent weeks, three California cities have filed for bankruptcy: Stockton, in the Central Valley; Mammoth Lakes, near Yosemite and the Sierras; and San Bernardino, in the sprawling Inland Empire east of Los Angeles. If you live there, should you get out of town? And if you don’t live there, should you worry that your city is next?
In short: no, and no. Here’s why.
What does it mean for a city to be bankrupt? Cities can file for bankruptcy if they are insolvent or are unable to pay debts that have come due. When in bankruptcy, the city doesn’t have to pay its creditors while it negotiates a plan for dealing with its debts. Despite the recent bankruptcy filings in California, municipal bankruptcies are extremely rare. Because cities have the power to tax, most have a hard time convincing a bankruptcy court that they truly cannot pay their debts. Few cities file for bankruptcy in the first place, and in the past few years, only Vallejo, CA, and Central Falls, RI actually went into full-fledged bankruptcy. Despite predictions of recession-stressed cities falling like dominos, the vast majority of cities have managed their finances well enough to avoid default or bankruptcy.0 comments
In Nevada, Florida and Michigan, the Presidential Candidates Will Have to Talk About Housing
Housing got little play during the Republican primary season, as we predicted, but will it get any attention in the presidential election? With the general election campaign now underway, we updated our Housing Misery Index to see if — and where — the candidates will focus on housing.
The Most Miserable Housing States
Our Housing Misery Index takes two important indicators of a state’s housing market and adds them together. These are:
1) The percentage change in home prices from each state’s own peak during last decade’s bubble until today, from FHFA. Big price drops lead to more underwater borrowers and less household wealth, which hurt the housing market and hold back economic recovery.
2) The percent of mortgages either severely delinquent or in foreclosure, from CoreLogic. Defaults and foreclosures damage consumer confidence in the housing recovery, and foreclosures hurt not only the people who lose their homes but also their neighbors.
Four states continue to stand out from the rest for their housing misery: Nevada, Florida, Arizona and California. In these four states, home prices are 40% or more below their peak – and almost 60% in Nevada. In addition to big price declines, Florida has, by far, the highest share of homes where borrowers are either delinquent or in foreclosure; the state’s judicial foreclosure process means that foreclosures take much longer to complete than in most other states. But things are slowly improving: in three of these four most-miserable states – except Nevada – the Housing Misery Index has fallen several points in the last year.0 comments
Price gains in Denver, San Jose and Pittsburgh look like they’re here to stay, but a big foreclosure backlog put the price jumps in Phoenix, Miami and Detroit at risk.
The Trulia Price Monitor and Trulia Rent Monitor are the earliest leading indicators of how asking prices and rents are trending nationally and locally. They adjust for the changing mix of listed homes and therefore show what’s really happening to asking prices and rents. Because asking prices lead sales prices by approximately two or more months, the Monitors reveal trends before other price indexes do. With that, here’s the scoop on where prices and rents are headed.
Rent Increases Outpace Price Gains In June
Asking prices were up once again month over month in June, by 0.3%. Aside from May, when asking prices increased by so little that they were essentially unchanged, asking prices have moved up every month since February. Now, even the year-over-year price change is positive. Foreclosures hold back price gains; when we exclude foreclosed homes, prices are up 1.7% year-over-year. At the local level, prices have risen quarter-over-quarter in 84 of the 100 largest metros, seasonally adjusted – these widespread gains are in addition to the typical springtime boost. Now that’s real progress.
June 2012 Trulia Price Monitor Summary
|% change in asking prices||# of 100 largest metros with asking-price increases||% change in asking prices, excluding foreclosures|
|Month-over-month, seasonally adjusted||0.3%||(not reported)||0.8%|
|Quarter-over-quarter, seasonally adjusted||0.8%||84||2.2%|