While the Case-Shiller index is down and the conventional wisdom suggests that housing prices will continue to fall, the RPX composite is up for the first time since 2007. The year-on-year ratio hit bottom in Feb 09. The RPX has a lot less lag than the CSI, but also a seasonal signal, so this could merely mean that seasonally adjusted prices are just falling more slowly, but it would be nice if it reflected green shoots. I’m not holding my breath though.
Ira Artman takes a look at residential real estate price indices – S&P/Case-Shiller (CSI), OFHEO, and RPX. The RPX comes out on top, for (marginally) better correlation with foreclosures and, more importantly, a much shorter reporting lag than CSI. This is a cause for minor rejoicing, as we at Ventana helped create the RPX and are affiliated with Radar Logic. Perhaps more importantly, rumor has it that there’s more trading volume on RPX.
In spite of the lag it introduces, the CSI repeat sales regression is apparently sexy to economists. Calculated Risk has been using it to follow developments in prices and price/rent ratios. Econbrowser today looks at the market bottom, as predicted by CSI forward contracts on CME. You can find similar forward curves in Radar’s monthly analysis. As of today, both RPX and CSI futures put the bottom of the market in Nov/Dec 2010, another 15% below current prices. Interestingly, the RPX forward curve looks a little more pessimistic than CSI – an arbitrage opportunity, if you can find the liquidity.
Artman notes that somehow the Fed, in its flow of funds reporting, missed most of the housing decline until after the election.