Data through February, released by the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, showed annual declines of 3.6% and 3.5% for the indices' 10- and 20-city composites, respectively. However, this is considered as an improvement over the annual rates posted for the month of January, which showed declines of 4.1% and 3.9%, respectively.
‘While there might be pieces of good news in this report, such as some improvement in many annual rates of return, February 2012 data confirm that, broadly speaking, home prices continued to decline in the early months of the year,’ says David M. Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Indices. ‘Nine metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) – Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Las Vegas, New York, Portland, Seattle and Tampa – and both composites hit new post-crisis lows. Atlanta continued its downward spiral, posting its lowest annual rate of decline in the 20-year history of the index at -17.3 percent.’
However, five of the 20 MSAs – Denver, Detroit, Miami, Minneapolis and Phoenix – saw positive annual returns. Last month's report omitted Charlotte, N.C., which was not included because of data reporting delays. Blitzer notes that the January and February data ‘confirms that Charlotte is one of the cities that is still reaching new lows.’