When I update Kenai Peninsula Real Estate readers about the latest news in housing prices, it’s usually not as ‘latest’ as I’d like. The reason is that there is a delay in most of the truly reliable indexes that measure housing prices. The big indexes are national (Kenai Peninsula housing prices are another matter), and they have a built-in two-month delay.
We can look at trends and directions, but if there is a change afoot, we won’t be sure of that for about 60 days.
Last week, The Wall Street Journal found a way to present unusually fresh numbers. Reporter Nick Timiraos ignored the S&P/Case-Shiller Index, which reported statistics from back in March, and leapfrogged into April with the first solid news about our much-anticipated spring selling season.
It shows a startling 2.7% one-month increase: the largest March-to-April gain in any of the 17 years since the series was first reported.
“The monthly gain blew away all past Aprils,” said an economist at Credit Suisse. The basis of the reports comes from last Wednesday’s release of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ producer-price index, which measures prices in the whole economy (at least as seen by manufacturers and wholesalers). It’s a backdoor way to gauge housing prices when you examine prices received by real estate agents.
The numbers showed a 9.1% gain over housing prices from a year ago…and remember, big price rises were already happening by then. The takeaway, per the Journal, “Don’t be surprised to see continued increases in prices and sales in the next batch of housing reports.”
Professors Case and Shiller are certainly standing by to give us those. And in case you would like a more locally focused update on our recent Kenai housing prices, I’m standing by, too — why not give me a call today?