Lucky Number 7: Case-Shiller Index Rises After Seven Months of Declines
According to the S&P/Case-Shiller Survey Home Price Indices, a measure of U.S. home prices, showed that on average home prices increased 1.3% in the month of April for both the 10- and 20-City Composites. This comes after seven consecutive months of falling home prices as measured by both indices.
April's data indicate that on an annual basis home prices fell by 2.2% for the 10-City Composite and by 1.9% for the 20-City Composite, compared to April 2011. While still negative, this is an improvement over the annual rates of -2.9% and -2.6% recorded for the month of March 2012.
"With April 2012 data, we finally saw some rising home prices," said David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Indices. "On a monthly basis, 19 of the 20 MSAs and both Composites rose in April over March. Detroit was the only city that saw prices fall, down 3.6%."
"We were hoping to see some improvement in April. First, changes in home prices are very seasonal, with the spring and early summer being the most active buying months," Blitzer continued.
The survey is constructed to track the price path of typical single-family homes located in each metropolitan area provided. The S&P/Case-Shiller National U.S. Home Price Index tracks the value of single-family housing within the United States. The index is a composite of single-family home price indices for the nine U.S. Census divisions and is calculated quarterly.
An increase in the S&P/Case-Shiller Index implies a healthy housing market. Moreover, housing has an impact on the rest of the economy. Increases in this index could suggest increased household income and in turn an economic expansion.
Traders who believe that Tuesday's rise in the S&P/Case-Shiller Index is a leading indicator for the general housing market might want to consider the following trades:
- Long building companies like PulteGroup (NYSE: PHM) because more new houses being sold might drive construction demand. This potential increase in construction demand may bolster home builders.
- Long companies like Louisiana-Pacific (NYSE: LPX) that manufacture and distribute products and materials for home construction.
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