As a real estate investor, the success of your business comes from knowing and understanding the overall market forces at play in the real estate industry. After all, knowledge is power, and it is the investors who can turn the market, be it positive or negative, to their advantage who will be successful.

The following is a list of resources, indices, and reports that any investor in residential real estate should be familiar with:


The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices measure the nominal value of the residential real estate market in 20 metropolitan regions in the United States.The indices use repeat sales pricing technique to evaluate the housing markets. The approach, developed by Karl Case, Robert Shiller and Allan Weiss uses data on single-family home re-sales, and re-sold sale prices to form sale pairs. This index family includes 20 regional indices and two composite indices as aggregates of the regions.

The indices are calculated monthly and published with a two month lag on the last Tuesday of every month.

The S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index is a composite of single-family home price indices for the nine U.S. Census divisions, calculated quarterly.


The National Association of Realtors Pending Home Sales Index

The Pending Home Sales Index is a leading indicator for the housing sector, based on pending sales of existing homes. A sale is listed as pending when the contract has been signed but the transaction has not closed, though the sale usually is finalized within one or two months of signing.

The index is based on a large national sample, typically representing about 20 percent of transactions for existing-home sales. In developing the model for the index, it was demonstrated that the level of monthly sales-contract activity from 2001 through 2004 parallels the level of closed existing-home sales in the following two months. There is a closer relationship between annual index changes (from the same month a year earlier) and year-ago changes in sales performance than with month-to-month comparisons.

The Pending Home Sales Index is released the first week of each month.


National Association of Realtors Existing Home Sales Index

Released on or about the 25th of each month, the NAR’s Existing-homes Sales Index measures the sales and prices of existing single-family homes nationwide and separated out by broad geographic region. The figures are based on actual closings and represent a larger sample of total home sales than the Census Bureau’s index of new home sales.


Realtytrac’s Monthly Foreclosure Report

The RealtyTrac Monthly U.S. Foreclosure Market Report provides a count of the total number of properties with at least one foreclosure filing reported during the month — broken out by type of filing at the state and national level. The report is typically released in the middle of each month for the prior month’s data.


Privately-owned Housing Starts

Compiled by the U.S. Department of Commerce in conjunction with the Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, new residential construction statistics compile the number of single-family and multiple-unit constructions starts over a given period. Released each month, housing starts are an important economic indicator of how much money is had by the general public. 


New Residential Home Sales

Compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. New Home Sales Index records sales of newly-constructed residences. The Index is a good indicator of economic turning points because of its sensitivity to consumer income: when the economy is slowing, the Index acts as an early indicator of such a slowdown. Correspondingly, when the economy is improving, the Index will show that as well.

The index is published at the end of each month and at the Census Bureau’s website.



Providing real estate closing and settlement services for home buyers, sellers, investors, and lenders, the real estate attorneys of Harlan and Associates, LLC strive to ensure that your closing is handled in a timely, efficient, and professional manner. We’d love to discuss how Harlan and Associates can help you with your closing needs. Please give us a call at (770) 817-1012 or visit us online at