Case-Shiller Change In Home Values May-June 2010

According to the Standard & Poors Case-Shiller Index, home values rose 5 percent in June versus the month prior, and 4 percent from a year earlier.  It’s the 16th consecutive month in which Case-Shiller reported an increase in home values and the third straight month of outstanding results.

That said, homeowners and home buyers would do well to temper Case-Shiller enthusiasm. The June figures are issued on 60-day delay and, over the last 60 days, housing data has been lackluster at best.

This makes sense.  The prices were up while the Tax credit was driving demand.  Now there is no urgency, so prices will fall with demand, just like the number of sales.  So there are more deals available from motivated sellers and from banks, because the forces driving an end buyer to buy now have evaporated.

Stories like these highlight a key weakness of the Case-Shiller Index — it’s out of date as soon as it’s published. Because of this, the Case-Shiller Index relevance to everyday Americans is muted. People don’t buy homes in the “60 days ago” real estate market, after all.

June is ancient real estate history.

However, the Case-Shiller Index does have its place. As the most widely-followed, private-sector housing tracker, the index is used to help make policy decisions and to shape Wall Street’s expectations of the economy. This means that a strong Case-Shiller reading can cause mortgage rates to rise, and a weak Case-Shiller reading can cause rates to fall.

Tuesday, mortgage rates fell.