Home Prices Probably Cooled, U.S. Consumer Sentiment Off

Gains in U.S. home prices probably slowed in July and consumer confidence this month cooled, restraining the biggest part of the economy, a pair of reports may show today.

Property values in 20 cities increased 3.1 percent in July from the same month last year, less than the 4.2 percent gain in the 12 months to June, according to the median forecast of 28 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.

Unemployment close to a 26-year high, the absence of a government incentive for buyers and an increase in foreclosures are weighing on the housing market. Depressed home values and a lack of employment opportunities may keep limiting confidence, holding back consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of the economy.

“Consumers are still stressed,” said Michael Gregory, a senior economist at BMO Capital Markets in Toronto. Americans are willing to spend “when you give them a big sales or a big tax incentive. Short of that, consumers don’t want to spend.”

The home price data from S&P/Case-Shiller are scheduled to be released at 9 a.m. Washington time. Estimates in the Bloomberg News survey ranged from year-over-year gains of 2 percent to 4.2 percent.

The Conference Board in New York will issue its consumer confidence figure at 10 a.m. Forecasts of economists surveyed by Bloomberg ranged from 48 to 55, with a median of 52.1, after an August reading of 53.5.

Photographer: Tim Boyle/Bloomberg

A for sale sign stands outside a newly built home in Park Ridge, Illinois. Close

A for sale sign stands outside a newly built home in Park Ridge, Illinois.

Close
Open
Photographer: Tim Boyle/Bloomberg

A for sale sign stands outside a newly built home in Park Ridge, Illinois.

Home prices fell 0.1 percent in July from the prior month, according to the Bloomberg survey, compared with a 0.3 percent June advance.

Gauging Trend

The year-over-year gauge provides better indications of trends in prices, the group has said. The panel includes Karl Case and Robert Shiller, the economists who created the index.

A government tax credit of as much as $8,000 gave housing a temporary lift in late 2009 and early this year and helped prices stop falling. The incentive required contracts be signed by the end of April. Since then, the industry has struggled, helping explain why builder shares are depressed.

The Standard & Poor’s Supercomposite Homebuilding Index has declined 3.1 percent so far this year, compared with a 2.4 percent gain in the broader S&P 500.

Sales of new homes in August held at a 288,000 annual rate, matching July as the second-lowest in data going back to 1963, Commerce Department figures showed Sept. 24.

Unemployment Outlook

After averaging 9.3 percent in 2009, joblessness this year will average 9.6 percent and 9.2 percent in 2011, according to the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg this month. The last time unemployment exceeded 9 percent for three consecutive years was from 1939 to 1941.

The lack of jobs is also one reason foreclosures are climbing. Home seizures reached a record in August for the third time in five months, RealtyTrac Inc. said Sept. 16.

The Obama administration said Aug. 30 it planned to announce a proposal for an emergency loan program to help the unemployed avoid default. The plan would also include a government mortgage refinancing effort to lower monthly mortgage payments for Americans facing foreclosure.

Orders at KB Home, a California builder focused on first- time buyers, fell 39 percent after the deadline for signing a contract to qualify for the federal tax credit expired. Rising jobless rates and foreclosures make it difficult to forecast future sales, Jeffrey Mezger, the company’s chief executive officer, said Sept. 24.

“The housing market continues to face significant headwinds from high unemployment and foreclosures, which are impeding a broader recovery, and recent net order trends in the homebuilding industry have injected additional caution into our near-term outlook,” Mezger said in a statement.

                       Bloomberg Survey

==============================================================
                         Case Shil Case Shil Consumer Richmond
                           Monthly  Monthly     Conf      Fed
                              MOM%     YOY%    Index    Index
==============================================================

Date of Release              09/28    09/28    09/28    09/28
Observation Period            July     July    Sept.    Sept.
--------------------------------------------------------------
Median                       -0.1%     3.1%     52.1        6
Average                      -0.1%     3.0%     52.3        6
High Forecast                 0.3%     4.2%     55.0       10
Low Forecast                 -0.8%     2.0%     48.0        0
Number of Participants          15       28       75        6
Previous                      0.3%     4.2%     53.5       11
--------------------------------------------------------------
4CAST Ltd.                    ---      3.3%     50.5     ---
ABN Amro Inc.                -0.2%     ---      52.0     ---
Action Economics              ---      ---      52.0     ---
Aletti Gestielle SGR          ---      ---      53.0     ---
Ameriprise Financial Inc      ---      ---      54.0        5
Banesto                       ---      3.0%     53.3     ---
Bank of Tokyo- Mitsubishi     ---      ---      51.0     ---
Bantleon Bank AG              ---      ---      51.0     ---
Barclays Capital              0.1%     3.5%     54.0     ---
Bayerische Landesbank         ---      ---      53.0     ---
BBVA                          0.3%     4.2%     53.5     ---
BMO Capital Markets           ---      3.1%     52.0     ---
BNP Paribas                   ---      ---      52.0     ---
BofA Merrill Lynch Research   ---      3.3%     53.0     ---
Briefing.com                  ---      3.1%     54.0     ---
Capital Economics            -0.3%     3.0%     52.0     ---
Citi                          ---      ---      50.5     ---
ClearView Economics           0.3%     ---      52.0     ---
Commerzbank AG                ---      3.2%     50.0     ---
Credit Agricole CIB           ---      ---      52.5     ---
Credit Suisse                 ---      ---      51.0     ---
Daiwa Securities America      ---      ---      54.0     ---
Danske Bank                   ---      ---      52.1     ---
DekaBank                      ---      ---      52.0     ---
Desjardins Group              ---      2.8%     50.0     ---
Deutsche Bank Securities      ---      ---      54.0     ---
Deutsche Postbank AG          ---      ---      52.5     ---
DZ Bank                       ---      2.8%     52.0     ---
Exane                         ---      ---      53.0     ---
First Trust Advisors          ---      ---      51.8     ---
Goldman, Sachs & Co.          ---      ---      51.5     ---
Helaba                        ---      ---      52.5     ---
High Frequency Economics      0.1%     ---      48.0     ---
HSBC Markets                  0.0%     ---      52.0     ---
Hugh Johnson Advisors         ---      ---      51.2     ---
Ibersecurities                ---      ---      53.0       10
IDEAglobal                    ---      3.4%     53.0     ---
IHS Global Insight            ---      ---      50.0     ---
Informa Global Markets        ---      ---      53.0     ---
ING Financial Markets        -0.8%     2.5%     54.0        0
Insight Economics             ---      3.5%     51.0     ---
Intesa-SanPaulo               ---      ---      50.5     ---
J.P. Morgan Chase             ---      2.9%     54.0     ---
Janney Montgomery Scott      -0.1%     2.9%     ---      ---
Jefferies & Co.               ---      ---      55.0     ---
Landesbank Berlin             ---      ---      48.0     ---
Landesbank BW                 ---      ---      53.1     ---
Maria Fiorini Ramirez         ---      ---      52.0     ---
MF Global                    -0.4%     2.9%     51.0     ---
MFC Global Investment         ---      ---      51.5     ---
Moody’s Analytics             ---      ---      51.0     ---
Morgan Stanley & Co.          ---      ---      53.5     ---
National Bank Financial       ---      2.5%     55.0     ---
Natixis                       ---      2.0%     52.6     ---
Newedge                       ---      ---      52.0     ---
Nomura Securities Intl.       ---      2.5%     ---      ---
Nord/LB                       ---      ---      52.5     ---
Pierpont Securities LLC       ---      ---      51.5     ---
PineBridge Investments        0.1%     ---      55.0        5
Raiffeisen Zentralbank        ---      ---      55.0     ---
Raymond James                 ---      ---      53.8     ---
RBC Capital Markets           ---      ---      51.8     ---
RBS Securities Inc.           ---      ---      50.0     ---
Scotia Capital                ---      3.1%     ---      ---
Societe Generale              ---      ---      54.0     ---
Standard Chartered           -0.1%     2.2%     52.0     ---
Stone & McCarthy Research     ---      ---      52.0     ---
TD Securities                 ---      ---      53.0     ---
Thomson Reuters/IFR           ---      3.1%     54.5     ---
UBS                          -0.6%     ---      52.5     ---
UniCredit Research            ---      3.4%     52.5     ---
Union Investment              ---      ---      52.5     ---
University of Maryland       -0.1%     3.2%     52.0     ---
Wells Fargo & Co.             ---      ---      52.4     ---
WestLB AG                     ---      2.9%     52.0     ---
Westpac Banking Co.           ---      3.5%     51.0        6
Woodley Park Research         ---      3.5%     52.9     ---
Wrightson ICAP                0.0%     ---      53.0       10
==============================================================

To contact the reporter on this story: Courtney Schlisserman in Washington at cschlisserma@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Wellisz at cwellisz@bloomberg.net

Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.

Bloomberg reserves the right to remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.