Cautious Optimism for the Housing Market

From Non-distressed homes are selling at rates and prices that are stronger than history would predict for this time of year, according to the September 2009 RPX Monthly Housing Market Report. But the 25-MSA RPX Composite dipped sharply in September due to an increase in sales of distressed homes and a decline in prices received for distressed homes. Nevertheless, the Composite’s decline in September came after four months of above-average growth, and its performance year-to-date remains strong relative to the last three years.Key Observations:
· Trends in home prices and home sales in September were stronger than one would expect given the historical trends for this time of year. The 25-MSA RPX Composite price dipped sharply in the month ending September 17, but this decline came after four months of above-average growth. As a result, the three- and six-month growth trends for the Composite were stronger this September than they have been in any September since 2005.

· The 25-MSA RPX transaction count increased 1.5% between mid-August and mid-September, contrary to the expected seasonal pattern. It was the first time that the 25-MSA-transaction count increased during this time of year since the beginning of Radar Logic’s data set in 2000. The growth in home sales from mid-August to mid-September was a continuation of a six-month trend of above-average growth. The 25-MSA-transaction count increased more over the three- and six-month periods ending September 17, 2009, than over the same periods in any other year in Radar Logic’s data series.

· Month-over-month trends for non-foreclosed homes were relatively strong compared to past years. The 25-MSA composite price for non-foreclosure sales declined 1.1% (-$2.26) over the month ending September 17. This decline closely resembled the ten-year average decline in the RPX Composite for this period (-0.9% or -$1.99), and was considerably less than the average decline for this period from 2006 to 2008 (-2.0% or -$5.04). The total number of non-foreclosure sales in the 25 MSAs decreased 5% on a month-over-month basis. This decline was less than the 8% ten-year average decline in the 25-MSA RPX transaction count from mid-August to mid-September.