Home Prices Continue Down in October but Decline Moderates


While home prices continued to decline in October, the
SP/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices
released on Tuesday indicate that the
downward trend may be slowing if only by a bit. 
The 10- and 20-City Composite Indices fell 1.1 percent and 1.2 percent
in October as compared to September and were down 3.0 percent and 3.4 percent from
one year earlier.  Nineteen of the 20
cities, Phoenix being the lone exception, posted lower prices in October than
in September.  On the marginally positive
side, for both Composites and 14 of their 20 cities the year-over-year loss in
October was smaller than it had been in September. Washington, DC and Detroit
were the only two metropolitan areas to posted positive annual returns, 1.3
percent and 2.5 percent respectively.

David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at SP
Indices said of the October data, “The only good news is some improvement in
the annual rates of change in home prices. 
The crisis low for the 10-City Composite was back in April 2009, whereas
it was a more recent March 2011 for the 20-City Composite.  The 10-City Composite is about 2.4 percent
above its relative low, and the 20-City composite is about 1.9 percent.”

The  chart above shows
the index levels for the two composites in comparison with their peaks and
troughs.  As of October average home
prices in the U.S. are at the approximate levels they held in mid-2003.  Measured from the mid-2006 price peaks, the
10-City and 20-City Composites are down 31.9 percent and 32.1 percent respectively
and have recovered from their recent lows by 2.4 percent and 1.9 percent.

Blitzer said that Atlanta and the Midwest are areas that
really stand out in terms of recent relative weakness.  “Atlanta was down 5.0 percent over the month,
after having fallen by 5.9 percent in September.  It also has the weakest annual returns, down
11.7 percent.  Chicago, Cleveland,
Detroit and Minneapolis all posted monthly declines of 1.0 percent or more in
October.  These markets were some of the
strongest during the spring/summer buying season.  However, Detroit is the healthiest when
viewed on an annual basis.  It is up 2.5
percent versus October 2010.  Atlanta,
Cleveland, Detroit, and Las Vegas are four markets where average prices are
below their January 2000 levels, and Atlanta and Las Vegas posted new lows in

The fourteen metro areas showing smaller annual losses in
October than September were Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas,
Denver, New York, Phoenix, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Tampa
and Washington, DC.  A fifteenth city,
Miami, was unchanged.

The SP/Case-Shiller Indices are constructed to track
the price path of typical single-family homes in the targeted metropolitan
areas.  The indices have a base value of
100 set in January 2000.  Thus an index
of 150 indicates a typical home in the area has appreciated 50 percent from the
base period.  The current 10-City Index
is 154.10 and 20 City is 140.30. 
Individual cities range from 71 in Detroit to 165.51 in Los Angeles.

Leave a Reply