The Mortgage Bankers’ Ass. is closed this week, hence there was no release of the Mortgage Applications Index, the best real time housing demand indicator. However, this week we do have the lagged data from the worst housing indicator in the world, Case Shiller, as well as the almost-as-stupid Pending Home Sales Index from the NAR due to its being reported on a seasonally adjusted fudge pack basis. Once again, the actual numbers were down but the fudge pack was up. The important factor here is that because of the collapse to rock bottom levels in late summer ahead of the usual seasonal drop, the seasonally adjusted data is useless. The reality is that this month’s number stunk.
The housing Case Chiller finally showed some negativity, but it’s so far behind the curve that it is useless. Listing prices as of December 27 were down nearly 12% since July. The Case Shiller shows a monthly decline of 1%. That’s enough to get the mainstream pundits’ antennae up. They are beginning to worry about a “double dip” in housing. Double Dip my ass. This is just a return to trend after a period of governmentus interruptus.
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