Home Prices

S&P Case-Shiller Index Posts Another Drop as Home Prices Near Trough

Posted on Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Data through December 2010, released Tuesday by Standard & Poor’s show that the S&P/Case-Shiller national home price index declined by 3.9 percent quarter-over-quarter during the last three months of 2010.
The closely watched gauge is down 4.1 percent versus the fourth quarter of 2009, which is the lowest annual growth rate since prices plummeted at an annual rate of 8.6 percent in the third quarter of 2009.
“We ended 2010 with a weak report,” said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at Standard & Poor’s. “Despite improvements in the overall economy, housing continues to drift lower and weaker.”
S&P warns in its report that both its 10-city and 20-city home price composites and the national index are moving closer to their 2009 troughs and a full-fledged double dip.
The national reading is within a percentage point of the low it set in the first quarter of 2009, Blitzer said.
The 10-city and 20-city composite measurements in S&P’s study are now only 3.9 percent and 2.3 percent above their April 2009 troughs, respectively. Back in July of
last year, they were 7.9 percent and 6.9 percent above the troughs, reinforcing the fact that the latter half of 2010 has been marked by a drop in home prices across the nation.
“Unlike the 2006 to 2009 period when all cities saw prices move together, we see some differing stories around the country,” Blitzer noted. “California is doing better with gains from their low points in Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco.”
But at the other end is the Sun Belt, Blitzer went on to explain, where home prices set new lows in December. Also seeing renewed weakness are some cities that were among the last to reach their peaks.
Altogether, S&P’s data show that 11 markets hit their lowest levels in December since home prices peaked in 2006 and 2007: Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Detroit, Las Vegas, Miami, New York, Phoenix, Portland, Seattle, and Tampa.
Looking deeper into the monthly data, 19 of the 20 metropolitan areas included in the analysis and both composites were down in December when compared to November, and all have displayed this negative trend for three consecutive months. The only exception was Washington D.C., up 0.3 percent.
Year-over-year, 18 of the 20 metros and both composites declined compared to December 2009. San Diego and Washington D.C. are the only two cities where home prices are increasing on an annual basis, +1.7 percent and +4.1 percent, respectively.
As of the fourth quarter of 2010, S&P says average home prices across the United States are at similar levels to what they were in the first quarter of 2003.
By: Carrie Bay, DSNEWS

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