Case-Shiller: Seattle Finally Sees a Tax Credit Price Boost

Let’s have a look at the latest data from the Case-Shiller Home Price Index. According to April data,

Up 1.0% March to April.
Down 2.8% YOY.
Down 24.5% from the July 2007 peak

Last year prices rose 0.2% from March to April and year-over-year prices were down 16.8% (the largest YOY decrease on record).

Looks like we finally get to see the expected little price boost out of the expiring homebuyer tax credit. Unlike most other cities tracked by the Case-Shiller index, Seattle has been mostly flat since the credit was introduced early last year. However, with the for-real-this-time-we-really-mean-it expiration date of the tax credit finally upon us, it is not surprising to see that some buyers rushing to get their free $8k have pushed home prices up just a bit (about 1%).

Here’s our offset graph—the same graph we post every month—with L.A. & San Diego time-shifted from Seattle & Portland by 17 months. All four cities climbed a little more month-to-month in April, with Portland actually grabbing the biggest gain for a change. Year-over-year, Portland came in at -0.4%, Los Angeles at +7.8%, and San Diego at +11.7%, still all better than Seattle.

Case-Shiller HPI: West Coast

Note: This graph is not intended to be predictive. It is for entertainment purposes only.

Hit the jump for the rest of our monthly Case-Shiller charts, including interactive charts of all 20 cities.

Here’s an interactive graph of all twenty Case-Shiller-tracked cities, courtesy of Tableau Software (check and un-check the boxes on the right):

Eleven of thirty Case-Shiller-tracked cities are now in positive YOY territory: Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Denver, Washington DC, Atlanta, Boston, Minneapolis, Cleveland, and Dallas.

In April, seventeen of the twenty Case-Shiller-tracked cities experienced smaller year-over-year drops (or saw year-over-year increases) than Seattle (one more than March):

  • San Francisco at +18.0%
  • San Diego at +11.7%
  • Minneapolis at +9.5%
  • Los Angeles at +7.8%
  • Washington, DC at +7.3%
  • Cleveland at +6.8%
  • Phoenix at +5.4%
  • Boston at +4.9%
  • Denver at +4.4%
  • Dallas at +3.3%
  • Atlanta at +0.2%
  • Portland at -0.4%
  • Miami at -0.5%
  • New York at -1.0%
  • Chicago at -1.6%
  • Charlotte at -2.2%
  • Tampa at -2.4%

Only two cities experienced home prices falling faster year-over-year than Seattle in April: Detroit and Las Vegas. Some company.

Here’s an interactive chart of the raw HPI for all twenty cities through April.

Here’s an update to the peak-decline graph, inspired by a graph created by reader CrystalBall. This chart takes the twelve cities whose peak index was greater than 175, and tracks how far they have fallen so far from their peak. The horizontal axis shows the total number of months since each individual city peaked.

Case-Shiller HPI: Decline From Peak

In the thirty-two months since the price peak in Seattle prices have declined 24.5%, slightly less than last month.

Here’s a complementary chart to that last one. This one shows the total change in the index since last March for the same twelve markets as the peak decline chart.

Case-Shiller HPI: Bounce Since March 2009

Looks like the impending expiration of free money was enough to squeeze out a little boost in most markets.

Check back tomorrow for a post on the Case-Shiller data for Seattle’s price tiers.

(Home Price Indices, Standard & Poor’s, 06.29.2010)


About The Tim

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market.

47 comments:

  1. 1

    Tim, I don’t know why you think that a third party contributing money to a purchase transaction would affect the price! ;-) :-D

  2. 2
    UpDog says:

    I started shopping late in the game, only last April. General feeling has been that the first-time “buyer” credit ends up in the pocket of the seller. Maybe earlier on it was different, but march/april seemed like a micro-panic to find a place quick.

    I’m not certain I’m reading the chart correctly, but seems like March-09 would have been the time to buy? Also, based on this, roughly what price-point in time would you consider a “fair” asking price today ( that is, should a house be selling today what it was selling for in 2005? 2004? )

  3. 3
    WestSideBilly says:

    Mar ’09 had the largest decline percent wise. The “ideal” time to buy is whenever that first chart crosses the X axis – assuming it stays above the X axis after that.

  4. 4
    Absinthe says:

    Does anyone know without tons of research what the price/income and price/rent ratios are for Seattle right now?

    I’m in Super-Bubbly Vancouver, BC …the city with 1 million dollar teardowns, 500K condos, and median wages hovering at 65K. It looks to me that we’re in a bubble of Dyson sphere proportions, driven by psychology and cheap credit.

    Given our price/rent ratios, the most common comparison Vancouver housing bears make is Miami, Pheonix, or Vegas, usually followed by some wry comment about how many sunny days they get.

    However, bulls enjoy pointing out Seattle’s somewhat underwhelming “pop” and the similarities – ocean, Pacific NW, running out of land, rich overseas investment, etc. All the same old arguments. Of course, with Seattle’s median prices at, what, $400K? – well, we’d have to come down substantially to meet you, and y’all have industry in your city.

    If anyone has the price/rent or price/income data, based on that do people feel that you’ve got some room left to fall – in this economy, with these wages and rents?

  5. 5
    deejayoh says:

    By WestSideBilly @ 3:

    Mar ’09 had the largest decline percent wise. The “ideal” time to buy is whenever that first chart crosses the X axis – assuming it stays above the X axis after that.

    I believe the technical name for the point when the line crosses the x-axis is “the bottom”

  6. 6
    biliruben says:

    Man. SF is back in rocketship land.

  7. 7
    Noz says:

    Buying an overpriced home to get a tax credit shines light on the stupidity of people. People are really freaking stupid.

  8. 8
    patient says:

    We’ll probably see higher C/S numbers for May and June as well perhaps even July then things should start to get interresting.

  9. 9
    patient says:

    By Noz @ 6:

    Buying an overpriced home to get a tax credit shines light on the stupidity of people. People are really freaking stupid.

    Let’s hope this was the neccessary lesson learned that will make any similar program in the future fail to trick buyers to over pay. When it becomes clear that the tax credit buyers traded a 5 dollar bill for a 1 dollar bill to support the banksters the volume of people taking the same bait again should be much lower.

  10. 10
    softwarengineer says:

    Hypothetical Upturns

    Can easily be turned into horrific pragmatic price plummets for 2011….but if you want to buy and are sick of renting; there’s probably a tendancy among that group to click their “Emerald City Shoes” together and wish their way back to a price increase Kansas…..IMO, it’s wishful thinking and lacks the fundamentals: “New high paid job growth into Seattle”.

  11. 11
    LA Relo says:

    And all it cost was $11 billion from our childrens future, and the next 12 months of potential buyers, way to go!

    Crisis diverted. (to our children)

  12. 12
    Scotsman says:

    Anybody who thinks they missed the bottom in 2009 needs to read this site more. When even Kruman says we’re in the first phase of what will be a long depression, and others are calling for another 50% down on home prices, it looks like those golden buying opportunities are still ahead of us. Relax, rent, sell if you own and are concerned about equity losses. Check back in a couple of months to see the CS numbers looking like they just dove off a cliff.

  13. 13
    drshort says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 12

    There’s been a lot of “can’t miss” predictions with lots of sound logic made by people on this site over the past 12 – 18 months that have been waaay off. And the experts have been wrong most of the time too. I wouldn’t put too much stock in anyone’s opinion. We just have no idea where this all is heading.

  14. 14
    Scotsman says:

    RE: drshort @ 13

    True, but I’d say that all of the misses have been on timing. The process is dragging out much longer than most expected- lots of kicking the can down the road, almost no real solutions or structural corrections even being talked about, let alone put into play. So we’ll get the same result, just a few years later than most expected. When a decade of $trillion deficits is corrected, when states aren’t on the edge of bankruptcy, when employment makes solid gains, then we can talk about a real turn around.

  15. 15
    MacroInvestor says:

    RE: drshort @ 13

    “…even Kruman says we’re in the first phase of what will be a long depression”

    Maybe so… but don’t take Krugman at face value. He wants more massive stimulus programs, and he’s just using scare tactics to drive home the point. This guy is one of the clown-painted fools who caused the whole mess, and now he argues for more debt to cure a case of debt drunkenness. Lesson? Morons can still get PhD’s in America.

  16. 16
    joe user says:

    You can’t run an economy like you run your personal finance; why does it seem to make sense to some people to stop (or even cut) spending/stimulus in the face of such a severe recession? OK, so the way the stimulus was implemented makes little sense to my brain (giving gazillions to bankers so they can hoard it and give big bonuses), but implementing so-called “austerity” seems, to me anyway, like it’d be kicking our economy when it’s down and would only do more harm than good…

    I think one big question that no one seems to know the answer to is whether we’ll end up better off in the long run by 1) going further into debt now with more stimulus and keeping us from sinking lower so we can theoretically recover faster but have to work longer to keep from imploding under the debt load, or 2) implement austerity measures now and “bite the bullet” to mark to market etc etc. as much as possible, thereby probably throwing us into a Depression and making it harder and longer to recover (if we can) but then have less debt to work off. Either approach is fraught with peril – I wish our leaders would stop waffling, since I’m pretty sure trying both approaches is doomed to fail.

  17. 17

    By MacroInvestor @ 15:

    Morons can still get PhD’s in America.

    But they’re only dangerous when they get MBAs.

  18. 18
    Scotsman says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 17

    Or my favorite- CRI. Certified Real Estate Investor? Or one of those other fun realtor accreditations.

  19. 19
    Scotsman says:

    RE: joe user @ 16

    “You can’t run an economy like you run your personal finance”

    Really? The great myth is that public finance is somehow different than personal or business finance- that is doesn’t follow the same mathematical rules because of the powers or taxation and the printing press. Without getting into a long dissertation on the nature of money I’ll just say that everybody has to follow the sames rules.

    The great truth is that “you can’t borrow your way out of debt.” It’s as simple as that.

  20. 20

    RE: Scotsman @ 18 – I don’t even know what half those accreditations are. I was just looking at an agent’s card yesterday wondering what the things meant. ASP? ABR? CNE? I assume the second one is some sort of buyer’s representative. I have a hard time believing they impress potential clients.

  21. 21
    wreckingbull says:

    RE: MacroInvestor @ 15 – The worst part is his weaseling. If things go pear-shaped, it is because the “deficit hawks” wrestled away his programs. If things go well, it is because the trillion dollars he and the Great One did spend saved us all. He knows that no one can prove him wrong categorically, so he just blathers away, making sure all his bases are covered.

    His recent switch to bearishness is him covering his ass.

  22. 22
    Everett_Tom says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 20

    So you piqued my curiosity.. here’s what google came up with..

    ASP – Accredited Staging Professional
    ABR – Accredited Buyer’s Representative
    CNE – Certified Negotiation Expert.

    The all sound very much like “I took a 2 hr course on-line, paid a fee.. and now I’m an expert” certifications.

  23. 23
    Scotsman says:

    RE: Everett_Tom @ 22

    Phew! I was worried, for a moment I thought CNE might be “Certified Necrophiliac Enabler.”
    We could have more fun than we should with these. . .

  24. 24

    RE: Everett_Tom @ 22 – It’s longer than a two hour course, I know that, because whenever I see the class offerings I wonder who could sit through that for so long. I think they might typically be six hours.

    The only one I have is ePro, (it’s a technology designation) because you could take it over the Internet and I thought it might have something useful. It was incredibly basic, so not that worthwhile, but I needed the hours and it was an easy way to get them because you could stop and start on your own schedule.

  25. 25
    Everett_Tom says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 23 – You know, google could be wrong, and you could be right.. there’s a lot of room to uh, do your own course.. so to speak.

  26. 26
    Everett_Tom says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 24 – 4 or 5 years ago I got a speeding ticket, and had the option of doing traffic school on-line. It was similar experience. It was very nice to be able to stop ever so often.

  27. 27

    RE: Everett_Tom @ 26 – Even if you can’t stop, it’s nice to be able to take the course at home. The bar association has a lot of live CLEs broadcast over the Internet, and I get a lot more out of them because I’m more alert for some reason. And the coffee is better here too.

  28. 28
    pfft says:

    it looks like housing nationwide has bottomed.

  29. 29
    pfft says:

    By biliruben @ 6:

    Man. SF is back in rocketship land.

    that makes it clear in my mind that while everyone is worrying about deflatinon we may well seem some inflation.

  30. 30
    pfft says:

    By Scotsman @ 12:

    Anybody who thinks they missed the bottom in 2009 needs to read this site more. When even Kruman says we’re in the first phase of what will be a long depression, and others are calling for another 50% down on home prices, it looks like those golden buying opportunities are still ahead of us. Relax, rent, sell if you own and are concerned about equity losses. Check back in a couple of months to see the CS numbers looking like they just dove off a cliff.

    the numbers have been trending up for months and months. the YOY is in postivie territory. I happen to disagree with krugman. I think we are clearly in a stagflationary environment.

  31. 31
    pfft says:

    By Scotsman @ 14:

    RE: drshort @ 13

    True, but I’d say that all of the misses have been on timing. The process is dragging out much longer than most expected- lots of kicking the can down the road, almost no real solutions or structural corrections even being talked about, let alone put into play. So we’ll get the same result, just a few years later than most expected. When a decade of $trillion deficits is corrected, when states aren’t on the edge of bankruptcy, when employment makes solid gains, then we can talk about a real turn around.

    we’ll have missed it by then. that’s investing 101. heck, retail investors have already missed most of the rally.

  32. 32
    pfft says:

    By Scotsman @ 19:

    RE: joe user @ 16

    “You canâ��t run an economy like you run your personal finance”

    Really? The great myth is that public finance is somehow different than personal or business finance- that is doesn’t follow the same mathematical rules because of the powers or taxation and the printing press. Without getting into a long dissertation on the nature of money I’ll just say that everybody has to follow the sames rules.

    The great truth is that “you can’t borrow your way out of debt.” It’s as simple as that.

    no it isn’t. nations are basically forever. your finances aren’t. you can borrow your way out of debt. you do that by jump-starting the economy and increasing your tax revenues. debt merely has to be stabilized as I’ve posted ad nauseum yet you continue to ignore that point.

    here is an idea. prove right now where austerity is working? is it Ireland? is it Greece? is it Estonia with 20% unemployment?

  33. 33
    pfft says:

    By MacroInvestor @ 15:

    RE: drshort @ 13

    “…even Kruman says weâ��re in the first phase of what will be a long depression”

    Maybe so… but don’t take Krugman at face value. He wants more massive stimulus programs, and he’s just using scare tactics to drive home the point. This guy is one of the clown-painted fools who caused the whole mess, and now he argues for more debt to cure a case of debt drunkenness. Lesson? Morons can still get PhD’s in America.

    government debt did not cause this problem. but you knew that because you don’t have a PhD.

  34. 34
    pfft says:

    here is the deal. the markets are a test of objectivity. in the end we must be ruled by price because it doesn’t matter that we were right if we miss out on a boatload of money. it doesn’t matter if we are right if we lose a lot of money. if you lose money or miss out you are wrong. end of story.

    housing is recovering faster than I or a lot of other housing bears thought. therefore basically everything we know is wrong. whatever the housing bulls are thinking is right. adjust accordingly. we went the wrong direction. we must stop and ask for directions and head in the right direction. that means seriously considering a housing bottom.

    in the end price action rules. it is the only thing that matters.

  35. 35
    pfft says:

    the yield on the 10 year is 2.95% scotsman. the market is not worried about the next ten years of deficits.

  36. 36
    patient says:

    RE: pfft @ 32

    “here is an idea. prove right now where austerity is working? is it Ireland? is it Greece? is it Estonia with 20% unemployment?”

    That’s just nuts pfft, those countries are in they hole since the borrowed to much not due to austerity.

  37. 37
    patient says:

    By patient @ 36:

    RE: pfft @ 32

    “here is an idea. prove right now where austerity is working? is it Ireland? is it Greece? is it Estonia with 20% unemployment?”

    That’s just nuts pfft, those countries are in the hole since they borrowed to much not due to austerity.

  38. 38
    Scotsman says:

    RE: pfft @ 35

    I’d like to be polite, but I can’t. You’re an idiot. What you truly comprehend about economics wouldn’t fill a single page- double spaced. You only see one side of every
    issue and fail to realize that all of the “indicators” you champion are in fact multivariate functions, not simple either/or choices. your constant claim that everything will be OK because the 10 year treasury is falling is a perfect example. You should read this- then maybe you’ll see a possibility that your falling rates indicate exactly the opposite of what you claim. and remember, a rally in treasuries means more demand/lower interest rates:

    “I’ve written extensively about how US Treasuries are treated as a safe haven when things are not well in the world. I do think that at some point this will end (and there will be a flight from the Dollar), but right now Treasuries remain the “go to” place for investors when they want safety.

    Because of this, Treasuries rally whenever investors get spooked. On that note, I want to point out that Treasuries (black line) have remained elevated throughout the last month, despite stocks (blue line) rallying.”

    http://www.gainspainscapital.com/

  39. 39
    Scotsman says:

    RE: pfft @ 32

    “no it isn’t. nations are basically forever”

    No, nations are historically for about 200 years, then they collapse and reform. The U.S. is an exception, at least for now. But probably not forever.

  40. 40
    Scotsman says:

    RE: pfft @ 28

    LMAOROTF!!!

  41. 41
    Scotsman says:

    RE: pfft @ 32

    ” you can borrow your way out of debt. you do that by jump-starting the economy and increasing your tax revenues.”

    Check back in 6 months and let me know how that works out.

  42. 42
    Jonness says:

    The suckers who trust government stimulus are getting burned on a daily basis. I’ve watched it happen for years. Today’s suckers are tomorrow’s debt slaves trapped underwater. Why on earth would anybody believe the homeownership rate can be sustained at the same rate as during the bubble? Nothing is the same as it was then. The dynamics are completely different. I mean, dream on. One guy can’t control his impulses and leverages himself to the hilt on a house that’s way overpriced. A few years later, we have the worst economy in 80 years, and he decides somebody else should pay 2x as much for the house, despite the fact that wages have actually decreased in the meantime and there’s hardly anyone left with a job and a good credit score who hasn’t already pulled the mortgage trigger.

    The $8K tax credit should be renamed to the $8K sucker trap. My lender is offering a 4.25% 0-point 30-year fixed with low fees. Yet, demand is falling into the sewer. This tells me we are rapidly running out of suckers. It’s a good thing there’s a sucker born every minute, because most of the ones already alive are leveraged to the gills. If a new generation of suckers doesn’t jump into the pool, the economy will nose dive into the W. Then again, I’m mortgage and rent free, so what do I care?

  43. 43
    WestSideBilly says:

    By Everett_Tom @ 26:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 24 – 4 or 5 years ago I got a speeding ticket, and had the option of doing traffic school on-line. It was similar experience. It was very nice to be able to stop ever so often.

    I had to do Indiana’s online traffic school, which was somewhat the opposite. It was a 45 minute course that had to be taken over 4 hours; so after completing each section (which took about 10-12 minutes) you had to wait for a one hour timer to expire to move on to the next section.

  44. 44

    RE: WestSideBilly @ 43 – That was probably a special course for people who didn’t come to a complete stop at a stop sign. ;-)

  45. 45
    pfft says:

    By patient @ 36:

    RE: pfft @ 32

    “here is an idea. prove right now where austerity is working? is it Ireland? is it Greece? is it Estonia with 20% unemployment?”

    That’s just nuts pfft, those countries are in they hole since the borrowed to much not due to austerity.

    you’re wrong. estonia has basically no national debt but 20% unemployment. for this accomplishment they joined the Euro! if you read the new york times you know that Ireland underwent austerity. greece did and it looks like it’s not better off either.

  46. 46
    pfft says:

    By Scotsman @ 41:

    RE: pfft @ 32

    ” you can borrow your way out of debt. you do that by jump-starting the economy and increasing your tax revenues.”

    Check back in 6 months and let me know how that works out.

    except the stimulus was passed more than a year ago. the bank bailout was a lot more than a year ago.

  47. 47
    pfft says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 40 – so if you don’t look at price to determine a bottom what do you look at?

    I would love to see your median home price to

    By Scotsman @ 14:

    RE: drshort @ 13 When a decade of $trillion deficits is corrected, when states aren’t on the edge of bankruptcy, when employment makes solid gains, then we can talk about a real turn around.

    ratio. I am sure it’s groundbreaking work!

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