Latest numbers on home stats underscore market strength

Jason Wade

One of the frustrating things about trying to get an accurate reading on economic trends is that numbers tend to bounce around from one month to the next. So when we get a series of numbers that all point in the same direction, it’s a good idea to pay attention.

That’s the case with the S&P/Case-Shiller Index, which has become the leading measure of U.S. home prices. The national composite was up 3.6% compared to the third quarter of 2011, and 2.2% compared to the second quarter of this year.

Not that I was surprised. I’ve been saying for a while now that the real estate market was recovering, and the new numbers are convincing:

  • Breadth. A recovery in one or two hotspots doesn’t mean much. But of the 20 cities tracked, 17 were above their levels from a year ago.
  • Persistence. Both on a month-to-month and year-to-year basis, we’ve seen steady progress. The 10-City and 20-City Composites have risen month-over-month for six straight months.

 From the investor/buyer perspective, this is really good news. Real estate is still a great value, especially compared to the prices we saw before the credit crisis in 2007-2008, so there’s a lot of room to grow. Yet, the upward trend is well established, showing that the market has stabilized and begun to gather steam.

That means, of course, that our upcoming two-day auction of 100 properties for the FDIC in Chicago will offer some excellent possibilities. We have an especially strong lineup of residential properties, many of which are concentrated in the Cicero area. We’ll start at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 8, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9. I look forward to seeing you there.