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[CME Housing Index] Number Of Contracts Probably Better Indicator Than Prices Right Now

Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) [1], along with noted economist Robert Shiller’s MacroMarkets, Fiserv and Standard & Poor’s, have created a market exchange for futures and options contracts on home prices in ten cities in the United States [2]. The data feed from the index is provided to Matrix from Tradition Financial Services (TFS) [3], a broker that executes housing futures and options.

Trading for this new index concept began on May 22nd and trading still appears relatively light so I only plan to post an update 1-2 times per week.

Recap
Miami leads all markets with 183 contracts, followed by LA with 112 and San Diego with 58 contracts. Denver is on the bottom of the list with 12 contracts. To date, 633 contracts have been purchased with an open interest value of $38,355,918. Still not a lot of activity.

Miami shows the largest price decline with a 7.67% drop. The overall 10-city index shows a 4.64% drop on May-07 contracts. Since the contract activity is still light, I wouldn’t place much faith in the pricing yet for the individual cities. Low data set = erratic pricing. Give it time however, this seems like a useful investment tool for mortgage originators to hedge their bets but probably not practical or affordable for most consumers.

If you believe that there is enough data for the 10-city index to start seeing a trend, it looks like investors are expecting something less than a 5% price correction over the next year which seems consistent with the whole soft landing over-mentioned theory. The correlation between the number of contracts sold and general concern over each housing market seems more relevant right now than pricing.

See archived posts in Matrix that cover the CME Housing Index [4]

Delayed Futures & Options Quotes (up to 10 min) [5]