Recent housing data shows only weakness: RadarLogic
The housing market continues to be very weak and is unlikely to improve in the near term, according to the August 2011 RPX monthly housing report from New York-based Radar Logic Inc. Home prices declined in August on a month-over-month and year-over-year basis, according to the report. Although recent housing metrics, such as home sales, housing starts and builder confidence, may initially appear to be positive they reveal the fundamental weakness of the market when viewed in context, the company said. The 25-metropolitan-area RPX composite price declined 0.8% in August, the largest drop for this time of year since the crash of 2008. Prices declined 4.7% relative to August 2010. "We continue to see the negative effects of the supply/demand imbalance in housing," said Michael Feder, president and CEO of Radar Logic. "Until we truly begin to deal with it, the numbers will reflect the fundamental weakness in housing markets." The index's 25-MSA transaction count increased 13% year-over-year through August. However, rather than indicating an increase in housing demand, the gain is a function of the unusual timing of home purchases last year due to the homebuyer tax credit, Radar Logic said. Home sales peaked early in 2010 and declined rapidly thereafter as homebuyers moved up their purchases to qualify for the tax credit. As a result, there were significantly fewer sales in August 2010 than is typical. This year home sales followed the seasonal pattern more closely, with sales remaining relatively high through August, thus the disparate rates in the annual comparison. The impact of the tax credit on year-over-year growth figures will diminish as the year progresses, Radar Logic said. When comparing the prior month, the 25-metropolitan-area RPX transaction count declined 5.2% in August from July, a relatively large decline for this time of year. Radar Logic recently announced plans to begin trading futures contracts based on its RPX on the CBOE Futures Exchange on or around Oct. 27. The futures will allow investors to bet on the U.S. residential real estate market without buying a home. Write to Kerry Curry. Follow her on Twitter @communicatorKLC.