Sunday, April 29, 2012

Do House Prices Beat Inflation? Should They?

From Calculated Risk:
The upward slope of Real House Prices

Shiller Real House Prices A year ago, Dave Altig asked Just how out of line are house prices?. Dr. Altig's post featured both a price-to-rent graph and a real house price graph originally from the NY Times based on Professor Robert Shiller's work.

The price-to-rent ratio graph Dr Altig presented seemed to show that house prices were getting back to normal, but the graph based on Professor Shiller's work seemed to suggest that house prices could fall much further. Below is an updated graph from Shiller through Q4 2011.

The Shiller graph has suggested to many observers that house prices track inflation (i.e. that house prices adjusted for inflation are stable - except for bubbles). Last year I pointed out the slope depends on the data series used, and that if Professor Shiller had used either Corelogic or the Freddie Mac house prices series, before Case-Shiller was available, there would a greater upward slope to his graph.

An upward slope to real prices makes sense to me as I've argued before: "In many areas - if the population is increasing - house prices increase slightly faster than inflation over time, so there is an upward slope for real prices."

This is the updated graph from Professor Shiller....MORE
HT: Abnormal Returns