The title of this post might be stretching it a little but in light of most of the recent death-of-real-estate-media coverage I’m taking a little liberty with it. The May 2011 Case Shiller Index for Portland is up 1.66 points. That’s the highest increase since May 2010 and only the second increase, joining last month’s .17 point increase, this year. In fact, it’s the second highest monthly increase since May 2007.
Now for the gut check. Two months of increases does not make for a recovery. We can see that five of six Aprils and Mays in 2008, 2009 and 2010 were also increases which were followed by declines through the fall and winter months. Last year the market managed three months of consecutive gains before rattling off nine straight losses. During the real estate boom the Index increased 32 consecutive months between February 2004 and September 2006.
Today’s index mostly closely matches November 2004. The Case Shiller report for “Portland” is the seven county MSA. It runs from Yamhill County to the south to Skamania County in Washington.
My crystal ball for the short term is cautiously optimistic. That’s working under the assumption that our government figures out their budget issues and financial markets remain stable. Jobs, which are tied to any real estate recovery have remained stable but lower than we need.