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US single-family home prices fell
for an 8th straight month in February, moving closer to an April 2009 trough,
according to the
Case-Shiller Index issued today by Standard & Poor's.
The 10-City Composite fell 2.6% and the 20-City Composite was
down 3.3% from February 2010 levels. Washington DC was the only market to post a
year-over-year gain with an annual growth rate of +2.7%. Ten of the 11 cities
that made new lows in January 2011 saw new lows again in February 2011. Detroit
avoided another new low, managing a +1.0% increase in February over January, the
only city with a positive monthly change. With an index level of 139.27, the
20-City Composite is virtually back to its April 2009 trough value (139.26); the
10-City Composite is 1.5% above its low.
The chart above depicts the annual returns of the 10-City and
the 20-City Composite Home Price Indices. In February 2011, the 10-City and
20-City Composites recorded annual returns of -2.6% and -3.3%, respectively. On
a month-over-month basis, the 10- and 20-City Composites were both down 1.1% in
February versus January. San Diego, which had posted 15 consecutive months of
positive annual rates ended its run with a -1.8% annual rate of change in
February 2011. Washington DC has assumed that status, with 15 consecutive months
of positive annual growth rates beginning in December 2009 through February
2011. Twelve of the 20 MSAs (metropolitan statistical areas) and both Composites
fared worse in terms of annual growth rates in February compared to January.
Atlanta, Cleveland, Dallas, Detroit, Phoenix, Portland (Oregon) and Washington
DC saw improvements in their annual rates of return in February versus January;
New York was unchanged.
“There is very little, if any, good news about housing.
Prices continue to weaken, trends in sales and construction are disappointing,”
says David M. Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Indices.
“Ten of the 11 MSAs that recorded index lows in January fell further in
February. The one exception, Detroit, is 30% below its 2000 price level. The
20-City Composite is within a hair’s breadth of a double dip. Fourteen MSAs and
both Composites have continued to decline month-over-month for more than six
consecutive months as of February.
“Atlanta, Cleveland and Las Vegas join Detroit as cities with
home prices below their 2000 levels; and Phoenix is barely above its January
2000 level after a new index low. The one positive is Washington DC with a
positive annual growth rate, +2.7%, and home prices more than 80% over its
January 2000 level.
Other cities holding on to large gains from 11 years ago
include Los Angeles (68.25%), New York (65.19%) and San Diego (55.05%)”
“Recent data on existing-home sales, housing starts,
foreclosure activity and employment confirm that we are still in a slow
recovery. Existing home sales and housing starts rose in March, but remain close
to recent lows. Foreclosure activity showed decreases in mortgage delinquencies
in the fourth quarter of 2010, but are still close to historic highs. The nation
and 34 states registered a decline in their unemployment rates for March.”
As of February 2011, average home prices across the United
States are back to the levels where they were in the summer of 2003. Measured
from their peaks in June/July 2006 through February 2011, the peak-to current
decline for the 10-City Composite and 20-City Composite are -32.5% and -32.6%,
respectively. For the 10-City Composite, the improvement from its April 2009
trough is a scant +1.5% and the 20-City Composite is virtually back to its April
2009 trough level.
From their 2006/2007 peaks, 10 MSAs posted new index level
lows for the third consecutive month in February 2011. These are Atlanta,
Charlotte, Chicago, Las Vegas, Miami, New York, Phoenix, Portland (Oregon),
Seattle and Tampa. Detroit, which had posted a recent index level low in January
2011, is the only city that showed a monthly improvement of +1.0% in February
In February, the 10-City and 20-City Composites were both down
1.1% from their January 2011 levels. Nineteen of the 20 MSAs and both the
10-City and 20-City Composite fell in February versus January. Of these, 14 MSAs
and both Composites posted negative monthly returns for more than six
consecutive months. With the February 2011 report, 11 of the 20 MSAs and both
Composites are down by more than 1% compared to their January levels.
Case-Shiller Home Price Indices:
The table below summarizes the results for February 2011. The
S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are revised for the 24 prior months, based
on the receipt of additional source data. More than 24 years of history for
these data series is available, and can be accessed in full by going