Monday, July 25, 2011

Google Searches for "Buy a House" Trending Up

The chart above shows the Google Trends online search volume for the term "buy a house" (for the U.S. only) back to 2007.  This was one of the "uncommon economic indicators" featured on a CNBC segment this morning featuring Nick Colas, Convergex Group Chief Market Strategist, who reported this as the most optimistic of the five uncommon indicators discussed.  Searches for the terms "buy a house" and "buy a home" are reaching post-crisis highs on Google Trends (see chart above), and could be a leading indicator of home purchases six months to a year in the future. 

20 Comments:

At 7/25/2011 12:18 PM, Blogger Jason said...

I think that those search terms underreport the number of Google searches about buying homes… they exclude searches for "buy house", "buy home", "buy new home", etc, etc.

A better search would be buy house, buy home.

 
At 7/25/2011 12:19 PM, Blogger Eric H said...

And, since it's a "jobless recovery", they probably need a home loan to buy a house.

Or can I use the Google Trend to make the claim that more people are paying cash for their houses?

 
At 7/25/2011 12:59 PM, Blogger juandos said...

Interestingly is all depends on how one uses Google...

For instance I tried this: home sales dropping +july 2011

 
At 7/25/2011 1:41 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

this strikes me as a pretty soft indicator.

it could mean an awful lot of things.

i'd need to see some correlation data with home sales or mortgage applications to start thinking it meant anything.

 
At 7/25/2011 2:01 PM, Blogger rjs said...

may also mean people are using google more as it has improved...

i know i am...

 
At 7/25/2011 2:20 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Buy a house?

You know how Japan sidestepped the housing bubble? House prices in Japan declined all though the 2000s, as they did in the 1990s.

We may be on the same flight path, given our Fed. Also, you portfolio of S&P 500 stocks, still worth less than in 1999, may be worth even less in 2021.

But we won't have much inflation.

 
At 7/25/2011 3:41 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

bunny-

don't you ever get tired of spouting that same debunked drivel over and over.

us inflation is significant and rising.

monetary policy is outlandishly loose.

real interest rates are dramatically negative and money supply growth has been huge.

 
At 7/25/2011 4:04 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

(Reuters) - Home building likely won't return to normal levels until 2014, and then only if housing prices rebound and foreclosures drop sharply, research from the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank showed.

Continued weakness in the housing market is dragging on the U.S. economy, which is losing ground under the weight of 9.2 percent unemployment and declining consumer confidence.

A report on Friday is expected to show the U.S. economy expanded at a 1.8 percent clip in the April-to-June period, below the first quarter's tepid 1.9 percent rate.

Research released Monday by William Hedberg, a San Francisco Fed research associate, and John Krainer, a senior economist there, indicate the drag from housing is likely to continue for years.

"Our analysis suggests that even an unusually strong period of real house price appreciation would not, on its own, lift starts to long-run average levels," the researchers wrote in the regional Fed bank's latest Economic Letter. "A significant easing of the drag on housing stemming from the inventory of foreclosed homes is also needed."

Foreclosures would need to drop by 50,000 homes per quarter starting in 2012, the researchers found, and home prices would need to stop falling by 2013 and then begin to rise, for housing starts to return to pre-2004 levels by 2014.

Such a scenario is optimistic, they said, because the inventory of foreclosed homes is still rising, and the 50,000 unit-per-quarter decrease would match the sharp pace of increase in foreclosures when they began in 2006."


But we should fight inflation--even ghost inflation.


Note to Morgan--See all Dr. Perry's posts on inflation, and the MIT Billion Price study, which Perry posted recently.

Flying saucers did not deposit Ben Bernanke at the Fed (as you insist), and we do not have general price inflation in the USA.

 
At 7/25/2011 4:45 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Affluent foreigners buying U.S. homes:

Foreign Buyers Recognize Value of Home Ownership in U.S.
May 18, 2011

The average price paid by an international buyer was $315,000 compared to the overall U.S. average of $218,000...for the past year ending March 2011.

 
At 7/25/2011 4:48 PM, Blogger juandos said...

Note to psuedo benny: 'get a clue'...

Consider the following from the American Thinker dated June of this year: Moreover, government deceives us by referencing the Consumer Price Index (CPI) as a measure of inflation. The CPI is based solely upon a basket of ever-changing, government defined goods and services. However, the CPI is the nominal inflation rate because it does not include currency devaluation. The real inflation rate is substantially worse than the CPI because it accounts for the growth in printed money...

 
At 7/25/2011 4:53 PM, Blogger juandos said...

What if Fannie and Freddie got into the home rental business?

 
At 7/25/2011 5:08 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Juandos-

When Flying Saucers hover over our Flat Earth, and we channel Jimmy Hoffa and Vincent Foster, then we will know the true rate of inflation.

In the meantime, the CPI core is running at 1.6 percent for last 12 months, and that probably overstates the case.

What some lu-lus, cranks and crackpots at "American DeThinker" say is not useful.

 
At 7/25/2011 5:23 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"What some lu-lus, cranks and crackpots at "American DeThinker" say is not useful"...

Especially to people who's command of simple English is sketchy at best...

But hey! You always have the New York Times to fall back on...

 
At 7/25/2011 5:31 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Juandos, what inflation? I don't see increases in monthly payments, e.g. housing, food, transportation, and clothing, except gasoline.

Both home prices and mortgage rates are low, which reflect a high level of real value.

Dr Perry has shown food prices as a share of disposible income has been falling and it's at or near the all-time low (the real price of milk is 50% lower than 1980).

It seems, some people believe nominal growth is 10%, e.g. 2% real growth and 8% inflation.

 
At 7/25/2011 5:33 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Benjamin,
I'm sure that you know very well that the CPI is nearly useless.

All things that are absolutely necessary to live are going up in price and most of those things aren't factored in CPI, as I am sure you already know.

I'd like to see the increase in real housing costs....with the glut of abandoned homes causing house prices to fall, all those people who ran away from their mortgage are now paying increasing rental prices....the rest of us are just paying more for something worth less.

 
At 7/25/2011 5:44 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

The most significant factor causing inflation is oil, which was $10 a barrel in the late '90s.

 
At 7/25/2011 7:32 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Mike-

There are many, including hard-core right-wingers such as Dan Boudreaux of George Mason (Eco Chair), who argue the CPI overstates inflation.

The cell phone you have? When I traded in my rotary dial recently, I learned I could carry a cell phone with me, and call nationwide for $50 a month. It stores numbers, it takes pictures, it even notes my GPS, and other stuff I don't understand. Someday I will figure out how to connect to the web.

I no longer need a Gal Friday.

Let's not even mention computers/Internet.

Or the web--you ever shop Craigslist? How about used books from Amazon?

I agree that the CPI is a difficult idea, and we can argue about it. But the Flying Saucer crowd is not the place to look for more-accurate estimates.

 
At 7/25/2011 9:32 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"The most significant factor causing inflation is oil, which was $10 a barrel in the late '90s."

The most significant factor causing inflation is Ben Bernanke's printing press.

The most significant indication of higher prices may be oil.

 
At 7/26/2011 7:04 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"Juandos, what inflation? I don't see increases in monthly payments, e.g. housing, food, transportation, and clothing, except gasoline"...

Where are you living PT?

I live in St. Louis county which is on the eastern border of Missouri...

I've seen the cost of milk rise a whole dollar over the last seven months to $3.59/gallon...

I've seen the price of bread rise some 80+ cents to $2.93 per loaf over the past year...

I've seen the cost of a box of Cheerios type go from $2.83 for a 16 oz box to $4.13 for a 14 oz box over the past year...

I've seen the price of simple cotton sweat pants go from $16 to $23 over the past year...

I've seen the price of shoes go from $23 in December of '10 to $29 a week ago...

The cost of electricity has gone up a few cents a kilowatt over the last year and the cost of natural gas go up a penny for the BTU unit...

I haven't seen the price of anything go down or stay the same over the last 18+ months...

 
At 7/26/2011 1:51 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Benjamin,
I think Boudreaux should do his own grocery shopping. You can never say that CPI overstates inflation when the only items that are absolutely necessary for the less fortunate aren't included in the figure. If anything, it vastly understates.
I can quote a Nobel Prize winning economist who's wrong on almost everything.

I'm also pretty confident that used Lay-Z-Boys for sale were never included in any inflation index. If they were, Carter would have installed a garage sale code to make himself look better...so I don't think Craig's List counts in the CPI (or anywhere).

 

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