The S&P/Case-Shiller Indices for November were released today. That was obviously a couple months ago, so keep in mind that Case-Shiller’s data isn’t exactly current.

And the Case-Shiller indices are actually three-month composites, so you’re looking at data that’s influenced by sales as far back as September.

Still, these are strong numbers.

I expected house prices to bottom at some point in late 2012 or early 2013, but they bottomed last spring. Even with the usual seasonal declines this winter, it is exceedingly unlikely that prices will fall below their lows of the winter of 2011/2012.

A caveat: in some cities and in some neighborhoods, prices might need to fall further or might continue to lag behind the already-slow pace of inflation. So the reality you’re experiencing in any one place might be quite different than Case-Shiller’s numbers, which focus most of the time on general price trends in 20 large metro areas.

It’s also worth adding that Case-Shiller headlines data that is not adjusted for seasonality, but the indices also release seasonally adjusted numbers. The seasonally adjusted numbers assume lower prices in the slower sales months and higher prices in late spring and early summer as demand picks up. But the numbers you’re looking at here are not adjusted.

From today’s press release:

Data through November 2012, released today by S&P Dow Jones Indices for
its S&P/Case-Shiller1 Home Price Indices, the leading measure of U.S. home prices, showed home prices rose 4.5% for the 10-City Composite and 5.5% for the 20-City Composite in the 12 months ending in November 2012.

In the 12 months ended in November, prices rose in 19 of the 20 cities and fell in New York. In 19 cities prices rose faster in the 12 months to November than in the 12 months to October; Cleveland prices rose at the same pace in both time periods. Phoenix led with the fastest price rise – up 22.8% in 12 months as it posted its seventh consecutive month of double-digit annual returns.

A few details:

Picture 128

Picture 127

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