Case-Shiller shows prices slightly higher in July, but flat with seasonal adjustment

The title of the press release says almost everything you really need to know about the Case-Shiller home price data released today for July (actually a three-month composite of May, June, and July): Home Prices Continue to Show Seasonal Strength

There are clear seasonal patterns to home prices, but various federal policies threw those patterns off in recent years. Consequently, S&P/Case-Shiller home price indices began focusing on data that has not been seasonally adjusted to account for these usual trends. It’s unclear to me why they have not reverted to focusing on the seasonally adjusted data now that the tax credits have expired.

Case-Shiller home prices for both the 10-city and 20-city composite are still down from a year ago, but prices rose .9% in July from June. Adjusted for seasonality, prices were essentially flat. (Last summer’s prices had been buoyed by the expiring homebuyer tax credits.)

Using the seasonally adjusted data, July prices in Atlanta fell slightly in July compared to June — about .5%. But there were considerable differences among the three pricing tiers. In July for Atlanta, the index for homes priced under $130,178 fell from 62.52 to 61.25. The index for the middle tier of homes priced between $130,178 and $241,595 fell from 91.56 to 91.13. The index for the high tier over $241,595 fell from 108.58 to 107.59.

These would appear to be statistically significant declines from the recent short-term highs for the Atlanta market. It’s too early, however, to say that we’re about to see declines in future months, although that’s what I’m expecting.

Here’s Calculated Risk‘s graph of Case-Shiller home prices, seasonally adjusted: