The Case-Shiller Shows Home Prices Are Still On Their Way Up

Case-Shiller cities July 2009

For the second month in a row, 18 of the 20 Case-Shiller real estate markets posted higher home values.  It’s the 6th consecutive strong showing for the benchmark private-sector housing index.

Combined with falling home supplies and rising sales figures, this month’s Case-Shiller Index suggests that housing may have bottomed sometime earlier this year.

It’s cause for optimism.

Even Case-Shiller respresentatives seem excited. In its press release, the publishers singled out the index’s winning streak, commenting on the recent “stabilization in national real estate values”.

But, in that statement, we see the Case-Shiller Index’s biggest flaw.  The index ipurports itself to be a national real estate metric but, in reality, there is no such thing as a national real estate market.

All real estate is local.

The Case-Shiller Index reports home values for 20 U.S. cities.  Each of those cities, however, is comprised of smaller neighborhoods, each with its own character, desirability, and price points.  Case-Shiller attempts to lump it all together — an impossibility.

As an example, New York City posted a nearly 1 percent increase in July but that figure is just a city summary.  The actual market in three distinct neighborhoods — Upper East Side, Chelsea, and Flatbush — vary tremendously.  Not to mention Long Island, too.

Flaws aside, though, Case-Shiller is still important.  It helps to identify broader trends in housing and housing may hold the key to our economic future.

With July’s Case-Shiller Index, we see that the housing market’s recovery is being sustained.

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