Leave it to the Chicago Mercantile Exchange to come up with options that let you bet on the housing market. They are setting up options that let you go long or short against an index of major city real estate. The index is called the Case Shiller Home Index and it’s been around for 20 years. From money.com this is how it can be used
So how would an ordinary consumer employ these tools?
Shiller says there are several ways including:
By direct investment: Investors could buy futures in housing prices and profit if home prices continue to increase (if the investor goes long) or if they fall (if the investor goes short).
By locking in home equity: Home owners intending to sell within a year or two can go short in home price futures. If the price of their house drops, that can recapture the loss on the investment.
Such hedging strategies should get easier, according to David Stiff, economist at Fiserv Case Shiller Weiss. He thinks home owners will eventually be able to buy home equity insurance that will protect against loss from falling home prices. Homeowners already have fire or storm insurance to protect them against losses, why not protection against losses from home price decreases?
Linking the price of a home to the index: A seller could peg the price of the home to the index by making it a multiple of the index for the city. A nice house in a prime neighborhood in Chicago, for example, might be listed at a constant 1,000 times the Chicago index value of 500, rather than simply at $500,000. Then as the index goes up and down, the home price changes as well. Both buyers and sellers would have confidence that the selling price was fair at the time of purchase.
Sounds like another great form of insurance or maybe just a fun play. I wish I had been long New York