Dollars and Jens
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
A month ago I wrote (in follow-up to a housing post),
I thought I'd mention, in re housing, that the first thing I'm waiting for is for the inventory-to-sales ratio to come down from its peak. (It's in the six to seven months range right now, depending on exactly what you're looking at and which month.) I don't see a reason for prices to firm up on a widespread basis until the backlog is behind us, and I don't see a reason for much increase in investment until the prices firm up. So if you're wondering whether we're past the bottom yet, keep your eye on how many months' sales are outstanding. If it's within noise of its peak, the answer is no. We might see that in this calendar year, but I wouldn't bet any of my favorite body parts on it.
Well, some of my numbers may have been out of date even when I wrote that.
Homeowners trying to sell last month faced the biggest glut of homes on the market in about 16 years, as declining sales and growing problems in the mortgage market helped push home prices down for the 12th straight month.


Not only did sales slip but the number of homes for sale jumped 5.1 percent, the group said, meaning there is now a 9.6-month supply of homes for sale, up from 9.1-months in the June reading. It was the biggest supply of homes by that measure since October 1991.
Also out today, prices in the second quarter were down from a year ago:
On Tuesday, Standard and Poor's said its nationwide S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index [was down] 3.2 percent in the second quarter [from] a year [earlier]. For the three months ended June 30, prices dropped 0.9 percent from the first quarter.

Major housing markets showed worse declines. The Case-Shiller index covering 20 top metro areas for the month of June fell 3.5 percent, and the 10-city index dropped 4.1 percent year-over-year.
In San Diego and DC, it was more like 7%.

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