MacroShares Major Metro Housing ETFs: Changing the Housing Game

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April 29, 2009 10:54am ETF BASIC NEWS

make-offerA smidgen of good news came with the release of the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices Tuesday morning. Although single family home prices continue to fall at an 18.8 percent rate across the country, the decline seems to be stabilizing. For the first time in 38 months the 10-City Composite index’s year over year performance improved from the previous month’s report. While “one robin” does not make it spring, let us hope this “robin” is soon joined by more friends.

I suspect this news will embolden housing Bulls, but there is plenty of data in the report for the Bears to snarl that investors should not be fooled by a slight up-tick. For instance, while the large California cities have shown improvements for a few months, New York had its first year-over-year double-digit decline since 1981 and is headed in the wrong direction.

Up until now, these confrontations between housing Bulls and Bears have been mostly academic, but that is about to change. On May 11, a new product will start trading allowing investors to wager on where these indexes are headed in the longer term. The housing index space has seen new products fail before, and this new entry is complicated, but I think the MacroShares have a decent chance of success.

In very simple terms, there are two shares: the Major Metro Housing UP and Major Metro Housing DOWN (Toronto: DMM.TONews). When the product was designed each share was worth $25 and together the pair is worth $50. Based on yesterday’s Index of 154.70, the UP shares now have an underlying value of $21.55 and the DOWN shares $28.45.

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