As an example, if a house price was US$200,000 in January 2000, the price would be close to US$289,000 today adjusted for inflation (+45%). That is why this graph is important – this shows “real” prices (adjusted for inflation).
In real terms, US house prices are at 2004/2005 levels.
An excellent indicator of future US home building and sales activity is the Price-to-Rent Ratio
In the latest Case-Shiller release, the seasonally adjusted National Index (SA), was reported as being +18% above the previous bubble peak.
However, in real terms, the National index (SA) is still about –4% below the bubble peak.
The composite 20, in real terms, is still -12% below the bubble peak.
In February, for the first time since the start of the century, the US housing market outperformed all other sectors of the economy.
The price-to-rent ratio has been moving sideways recently.
On a price-to-rent basis, the Case-Shiller National index is back to March 2004 levels, and the Composite 20 index is back to November 2003 levels.
In real terms, prices are back to late 2004/2005 levels, and the price-to-rent ratio is back to late 2003, early 2004.