Why Today’s Case-Shiller Data don’t Jibe with the Recent Housing Market Buzz

by John Glynn on May 29, 2012

'WWC Fall Family Fest' photo (c) 2005, Stevan Sheets - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Bay Area Housing Markets are bouncing.

Because it’s old data.

For the last two months, there have been a slew of market reports about a hard bounce in the Bay Area housing markets. Reports of multiple offers, homes gone pending practically before being listed, and selling for well over the asking price have been popping up here, and in other markets as well. San Francisco real estate: it’s “so hot right now“.

So when you read today’s headline about Case-Shiller coming in with “new post-crisis lows“, it can be rather confusing. Just when you’re about convinced that the market is getting better, Case-Shiller throws a big soggy wet blanket on the party.

You have to read carefully. Although the articles usually point it out, they identify the issue with Case-Shiller’s lag as just so matter-of-factly. Today’s report runs up through the end of March or Q1 2012. That means the news is already two months old. And it’s been about 2 months that the market has been going pre-bubble bananas.

So in short, you can wait a month or two to see what the next few reports have to say (last Tuesday of every month), or you can get caught up in the current buzz. May be a scary proposition after the last 5 years, but if you were looking to buy in say, Jenner, CA (population 136), then waiting has already been pretty costly. Year over Year prices up 218%.

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