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June 11, 2011

What Does A Simple Liquidity Measure Tell Us About Today’s Housing Market?

Recent reports of home price trends provided mixed signals about the housing market development or its near-term outlook. Price indices that track underlying home value by examining non-distressed home sales indicted that home prices have stabilized despite continued record foreclosures and mortgage defaults.

On the other hand, considering foreclosure price discount as part of the changes in fundamental home value has led a number of repeat-sales based price indices to render quite different conclusions.

Although not necessarily inconsistent, they send mixed signals to market observers.

In this report, we provide the simple but informative liquidity measure to gauge (with less ambiguity) recent market developments. Liquidity – the ability to sell an asset quickly without incurring much loss – has traditionally been an important measure of housing market conditions.

Using the latest for-sale listings data through May, we observed modest liquidity improvement in recent months in both distressed and non-distressed market segments.

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