Home Prices Disconnect From Rent and OER
Home Price Disconnect Notes
- National is the Case-Shiller national home price index.
- 10-City represents the weighted average of the cities in the first chart.
- CPI is the Consumer Price Index
- OER stands for Owner's Equivalent Rent. It is the single largest component in the CPI with a current weight of 24.151% of the total CPI.
- Rent of Primary Residence is a CPI component with a weight of 7.374% of the CPI.
OER is the mythical price the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says one would pay to rent one's own house from oneself, unfurnished, without utilities.
CS National, Top 10 Metro Percent Change From Year Ago
Percent Change From Year Ago Notes (March 2022)
- CPI: 8.52%
- OER: 4.56%
- Rent: 4.46%
- Case-Shiller 10-City: 19.49%
- Case-Shiller National: 20.56%
Yes, by a lot.
I do not believe OER is only up 4.56%. Nor do I believe rent is only up 4.46%.
Moreover, home prices are not directly in the CPI, only OER and and Rent.
Three Measures of Inflation
Adjusted CPI Discussion
My Case-Shiller adjusted CPI is calculated by substituting the percentage change in the Case-Shiller national index for OER in the CPI.
The result is an adjusted annual CPI rise of 11.42%. That's a new record high for this data series.
There is a lot of controversy over this procedure. The BLS and many economists will point out that houses are not a "consumer" expense but a "capital" expense.
That's technically accurate except historically home prices used to be in the CPI so historical comparisons are a bit distorted.
The problem with being "technically" accurate is that it is a huge mistake by the Fed to ignore asset bubbles. Inflation matters, not just alleged CPI inflation.
This historical distortion never mattered much in practice because the second chart shows OER, the CPI, rent, and home prices all rose in sync.
Real Interest Rates
Real Interest Rates Discussion
One can calculate "real" (inflation-adjusted) interest rates by subtracting the rate the Fed charges from CPI measures.
Mortgage rates had been around 2% in January but have since soared so one could formulate another version of "real" based on mortgages.
No matter how you slice it, rates are amazingly low. With home prices up over 20% but the Fed Funds Rate at 0.20% in March, it's no wonder we have another housing bubble and bubbles in equities.
The Fed wanted higher inflation and finally got it in spades.
Why the Inflation Surge?
- Three rounds of fiscal stimulus, two by Biden and one by Trump
- Supply chain disruptions
- Massive change in consumer preferences from services to goods
- QE finally mattered
The War is barely reflected in these charts as it began in February of 2022.
Poor Measure of Inflation
The big problem the Fed failed to see is that the CPI is an extremely poor measure of inflation.
I assure you inflation matters, not just alleged consumer inflation.
The Fed missed a huge jump in inflation because it does not know what to look at.
Case-Shiller Lag and the Rear View Mirror
Case-Shiller home price data for March is a three-month average of prior closed sales. And those sales reflect deals made a month or two earlier.
Home Prices Have Peaked
Home prices have peaked. Big discounts are happening already and the sales data is very weak. Here are some discussion points.
- Your TV Ford Man Explains What's About to Happen to Home Prices
- Pending Home Sales Plunge Another 3.9 Percent, Down for Six Consecutive Months
- New Home Sales Plunge 22.5% In April, 16.6% From Deep Negative Revisions
- Existing Home Sales Skid to Pre-Pandemic Level, a Housing Bust is Underway
Due to the lagging nature of Case-Shiller home price measurements, it may be a few months before the index peaks.
This post originated on MishTalk.Com.
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