March 2013 Case-Shiller Potpourri

Before we put away the Case-Shiller data for another month, let’s check in on a few of our alternative charts.

First up, let’s take a look at the twenty-city month-over-month scorecard. Here’s the original post introducing this chart if you’d like more details. Click the image below for a super-wide version with the data back through 2000.

Case-Shiller Home Price Index: # of Cities Experiencing MoM Gains, Losses

2013 saw the strongest March since 2005, with 18 of 20 cities experiencing month-over-month price gains. January and February weren’t quite as strong, but overall the first quarter was roughly on par with 2006 for month-over-month price increases.

Next up, the second derivative. For an introduction to this particular view, hit the original post from March.

Seattle Case-Shiller HPI 1st & 2nd Derivatives

The second derivative has taken a bit of a dip in the last year, but is still right around the 1% level. Anything above zero indicates that price increases are getting stronger each month, so this is still a strong signal. I’ve been expecting this to move back down toward zero during 2013. It looks like that will not happen until the second half of the year.

Finally, here’s a look at the number of cities that are experiencing second derivative gains or losses.

Number of Cities Experiencing 2nd Derivative (YoYoM) Gains, Losses

This one is interesting, because it seems to be showing signs of some initial price weakness. In 2011 and 2012 the number of cities experiencing second derivative gains increased throughout the first quarter, but this year it’s fallen from 20 in January to 17 in February to 15 in March. This could be an early sign of price stabilization to come in the next year. I’ll definitely be keeping my eye on this.

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.


  1. 1

    Low Inventory Sales Price Increases Have One Main Weakness

    The supply, even at higher prices, is sucked dry in a wink of an eye. Its about as predictable as the shell game.

  2. 2
    Nachiket says:

    So when do you say Seattle area hit bottom? We all know the top was in July 2007.

  3. 3
    UrbanDweller says:

    By Nachiket @ 2:

    So when do you say Seattle area hit bottom? We all know the top was in July 2007.

    According to The Tim’s post, “Case-Shiller: Seattle Home Prices Shot Up in March”, it looks like the Seattle area hit bottom in February of 2012. The Case-Shiller: Seattle Home Price Index:×436.png to verify for yourself.

  4. 4
    doug says:

    RE: Nachiket @ 2

    The Seattle area has hit a bottom in july 2007 but has not yet hit the bottom
    for prices in real estate. Right now we are seein a pretty nice “catch a falling knife” pattern.

    later on this year the reality that we have indeed been in a depression for almost 5 years and everything the politicians and corporations have done to prevent any further collapse has been an utter failure. All the companies that were supposedly to big to fail will fail.

    the hope is if we can get this mega crash over by the end of obummer we can start a new bull market in something but it probably will not be real estate That wont happen until 2025 at the earliest.

  5. 5
    Blurtman says:

    RE: doug @ 4 – What we need is another dang wag the dog war. The news media seems to be pumping up Syria. Why I heard that Assad was in on the planning of the 9-11 attacks, and that he eats babies pulled out of incubators.

  6. 6
    David Losh says:

    RE: doug @ 4

    Good Morning!

    It’s time to wake up!

    It’s just a little Spring drizzle out there, but summer is here, were going to go off camping, Congress will get a break, the markets will correct, but we are doing remarkably well in keeping the global markets moving along.

    You need to think globally. We are here in Seattle, the West Coast, and will also get the spill off from the massive cash buying power of the Asian markets that seem to be correcting well. It may all be funny money, created by one of the largest mortgage pools we have ever had, but once promises to pay are sold for cash, and that cash makes more cash by speculation, it becomes real.

    The reality is that we have much more cash in the system; that isn’t a phantom, it’s not just equity trading, it’s actual cash, created from nothing other than billions of promises to pay.

    When you pay with cash, that didn’t really cost you anything, other than the risk of speculation, it doesn’t make a difference if your “investment” goes down in price. You still sell it and get cash, clean cash, because that’s what you wanted.

    If markets do crash, which I doubt at this point, or if they correct, and you have cash, you can make bargains.

    While we focus on Real Estate here in Seattle, you can look around, and still, with even a minor correction, you can find bargains. GEMS as Ray calls them. In a broader market there are huge investment opportunities in housing, manufacturing, research, medical, transportation, cost effective innovation in energy, mining, metals, and exploration.

    We have seven billion people to feed, we won’t war our way out of that one.

    So, I think politicians are getting the idea that closed door negotiation isn’t going to protect them. There have been big political changes since Obama took office. The world has shifted in our direction. I have great Hope for Change.

  7. 7
    erik says:

    RE: David Losh @ 6
    You previously stated you are a deep south conservative. Now you are saying that Obama shifted things for the better. All of the other comments you make seem very liberal. I am confused. Please clarify.

  8. 8
    David Losh says:

    RE: erik @ 7

    People think in terms of right and left, but never the extremes. The extreme left is very similar to the extreme right, and that is the argument the extreme right is making about Obama, he is extreme, which means change.

    The extremes, both left, and right are trying to make changes rather than just follow the course.

    The Tea Party are extremist in reaction to the ObamaCare legislation which seems to me very similar to the RomneyCare legislation.

    You used the term liberal:

    I used the term conservative:

    Our country was formed by revolution. The deep South seceded from the Union. What our tradition, and values are based on is a sense of justice. In the South it’s called mountain justice. We don’t stand for no revenuers, or bankers running our lives. We would oppose those changes to our Constitution that would allow any group of individuals to run our government.

    Now the right wingers that you are seeing on TV today are communists, or fascists, I can’t really tell, but they want some one other than you to be in charge of your life. They don’t want the government involved because you are the government.

    Our government was formed By the People, and For the People.

    Did you just get screwed by a bunch of bankers? Yes you did.

    Did your government stand by, which is you, and watch it happen? Yes you did.

    A Conservative, a true Conservative, would use any means at our disposal to revolt. Obama looks like a darn good weapon. In my opinion he is the great equalizer that we needed, and he hasn’t let me down yet.

    Now, George W. Bush, who I voted for twice, let us all down, repeatedly, diligently. He ran this country into the ground. Then we saw Romney as a very clear face of the elitism that you might call Conservative, but it isn’t. It is replacing our government with the very privileged in charge.

    I can’t really tell if that is communism: Like an example of banks, and hedge funds owning huge swaths of property, maybe with the idea of owning, or controlling all property.

    or fascism:

    Either way, I’m sure what you consider Conservative is not what it appears to be.

  9. 9
    Erik says:

    RE: David Losh @ 8
    Hmmm. I generally consider conservatives/republicans Formalists. Formalists adhere to the rules and don’t deviate.

    Liberals/democrats are Utilitarians. Utilitarians believe in maximizing happiness and reducing suffering. The utilitarian idea is that the best path is the one that maximizes the happiness for the most people. I have seen you promote this idea in a lot of your comments.

    The lines aren’t always clear cut, but this is what I have used as my way to separate the 2 groups. It seems like republicans are generally formalists and liberals are utilitarians.
    You seem like a utilitarian.

  10. 10
    David Losh says:

    RE: Erik @ 9

    Now you are using Republicans as an example of a Conservative Movement, which they are not.

    I believe in individual freedoms, rights, and responsibilities. That is the American Way. Collectively we govern by the majority of votes by elected politicians. We have a say in what they do. We vote them in, or out. We also vote for President, the one who delivers the State of the Union speeches.

    Then we have the Supreme Court who can change policy by a court system we also have a say in. The court system is another voice we have, as individuals.

    Happiness isn’t in the equation.

    What is best for the majority is the preservation of our individuality, our own abilities, and use that for the greater good.

    As an individual I can make choices contrary to conventional thinking.

  11. 11
    ARDELL says:

    RE: David Losh @ 10

    “Happiness isn’t in the equation.”

    “Life, Liberty and The Pursuit of Happiness” is in The Declaration of Independence. Unfortunately the phrase never made it to The Constitution, and why the court system generally excludes it. However, there are many people today, I think they are most referred to as “the 99%”, who are declaring their independence once again, on both sides of the aisle.

    To me “libertarian” is just a cop out because it is a “sideline position”. But I could be wrong about that. It’s like standing around wailing that the real estate industry isn’t a “free market” system. Oh well. Never has been; never will be.

  12. 12
    Erik says:

    RE: ARDELL @ 11
    I thought libertarians were people that want to maximize freedom. I’m not that knowledgeable about politics, so i’m not sure. They subscribe to liberal views except they don’t agree with large government because large government doesn’t maximize freedom.

  13. 13
    Erik says:

    RE: David Losh @ 10
    Here is my best guess on your situation is the same as mine since I myself am in a similar situation. You were raised in a conservative republican environment, but the way you think is like a liberal.
    The liberal way is for the greater good as you just said. Liberals make decisions based on what is best for the majority. That’s you. I think the same way.
    Republicans say the rules are in place and we need to all follow them closely.

  14. 14
    David Losh says:

    RE: Erik @ 13RE: ARDELL @ 11

    Happiness is in the Bill of Rights, but the Constitution because was based on the principle of the greater good.

    Happiness is an Individual Right.

    The Greater Good is a Republican talking point as much as it is liberal. The question I have is who you want in charge. Do you want the larger corporations, which I doubt our founding fathers ever imagined, in charge, or our own government.

    Our government is what we make it. We are in charge of our government, and government policies. As much as some think the deck is stacked against them, the rules are universal. You can do what you want to be as much as you want, or as little.

    Obama, in my opinion, is a shining example of what America is all about. Good, bad, indifferent, hate the guy, or love him, he is the face of America we elected twice. He is a big contrast to a George Bush.

    That is a piece of Americana any way you want to call it.

    and I agree there is no free market to Real Estate. It is all based on the moves you make that will either go up or down based on the property you pick.

  15. 15
    ChrisM says:

    Regarding left vs right, this is a good read on why linear left/right doesn’t do the topic justice. Not that I endorse that particular model, just an easy intro to the concept.

  16. 16
    Erik says:

    RE: David Losh @ 14
    Liberalism is based on utilitarian theory. Utilitarian theory is this defined as maximizing happiness and reducing suffering.

    Conservatism promotes retaining traditional social institutions.

    Both sides do not make decisions for the greater good. That is a liberal viewpoint. The conservative viewpoint would be to follow the rules. There is overlap at times I’m sure, but this is the distinction between the 2 sides.

    I copied and pasted pieces that made sense for both Liberalism and Conservatism. I didn’t come to the conclusion that I was a liberal until 2 years ago. Previously I thought I was conservative cause my entire family is. You should take an honest reevaluation of yourself and see where you sit. I bet you are predominantly liberal/democrat.

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