It’s official! Home prices are on track to have their first yearly gain since 2006. This would make it the strongest year of price growth since home prices began to plunge, reaching their nadir in 2009. The Commerce Department said on Dec.27th that new single-family home sales climbed 4.4 percent in November to a seasonally adjusted 377,000-unit annual rate.
That was very close to analysts’ forecasts of a 378,000-unit annual pace. Many of these homes were purchased by investors who turn around and rent them out to the many former homeowners who now need to find houses to rent.
Yet on the same day the Conference Board said that U.S. consumer confidence fell more than expected in December, hitting a four-month low as the so-called “fiscal crisis” depressed what had been a growing sense of optimism about the economy.
Other data on Dec. 27th highlighted the positive indicators in the U.S economy, with the number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits falling to a nearly 4-1/2 year low. The Labor Department said initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 12,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 350,000, the Labor Department said.
“This recent improvement in the claims data is potentially a favorable signal for the labor market,” said Daniel Silver, an economist at JPMorgan in New York. With an anticipated increase in hiring due to the rebuilding campaign on the east coast in the wake of Super-Storm Sandy, there will most likely be more qualified, income-earning renters in the year ahead.
The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are calculated monthly using a three-month moving average and published with a two month lag. New index levels are released at 9 am on the last Tuesday of every month.
Key Housing Indicators (Monthly) — The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are the leading measures for the US residential housing market, tracking changes in the value of residential real estate both nationally as well as in 20 metropolitan regions.
The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices (data as of 26-December-2012)
The Latest Indicators are usually updated by 2 pm on the last Tuesday of every month.
This is not proof that the economic challenges facing owners, property managers and prospective residents have suddenly changed. It’s just evidence that the trend is moving in favor of all 3 groups, and as the old saying goes, “The trend if our friend.”
Wishing you all a prosperous and healthy new year in 2013, I remind us all to keep looking at the “glass half full” and as the old song suggests, “Eliminate the negative, accentuate the positive, and don’t mess with Mr. In-Between.”