Home Price Indices Show Declines Through January 2009

Broad-based declines in the prices of existing single-family homes across the U.S. continued through January 2009, according to the S&P/Case-Schiller Home Price Indices. Thirteen of the 20 metro areas showed record rates of annual decline, and 14 reported declines in excess of 10% compared to January 2008.

‘Home prices, which peaked in mid-2006, continued their decline in 2009,’ says David M. Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at Standard & Poor's. "There are very few bright spots that one can see in the data. Most of the nation appears to remain on a downward path, with all of the 20 metro areas reporting annual declines, and nine of the [metropolitan statistical areas] falling more than 20 percent in the last year."

As of January 2009, average home prices nationwide are at similar levels to what they were in late 2003. From the peak in the second quarter of 2006, the 10-City Composite is down 30.2%, and the 20-City Composite is down 29.1%.

All 20 metro areas are reporting negative monthly and annual rates of change in average home prices. Seven metro areas and the 20-City Composite recorded a record monthly decline in January. In addition, seven metro areas (not always the same seven) reported declines in excess of 4% in the month of January alone.

Phoenix led, with a report of -5.5%. Every metropolitan statistical area has had at least five consecutive months of decline, dating back to September 2008. On a marginally positive note, Cleveland, Los Angeles and Las Vegas are reporting a relative improvement in year-over-year returns, in terms of lesser rates of decline than last month's values, Standard & Poor's says. Furthermore, Las Vegas, along with five other metro areas, showed a marginal improvement in monthly returns, albeit still negative.

The three worst performing cities, in terms of annual declines, continue to be from the Sunbelt, each reporting negative returns in excess of 30%. Phoenix was down 35%, Las Vegas declined 32.5% and San Francisco fell 32.4%. Dallas, Denver and Cleveland faired the best in terms of annual declines, down 4.9%, 5.1% and 5.2%, respectively.

SOURCE: S&P/Case-Schiller Home Price Indices


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