Home/Mortgages/Housing Price Index at Lowest Level Since ’06 Housing Crisis

February 29, 2012 (Chris Moore)

Home prices in the United States fell even further in December pushing all three composites that make up the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices to their lowest levels since the housing crisis began in 2006.

The National Price Index hit a new all-time low in the fourth quarter of 2011, falling 3.8 percent for the quarter which resulted in home prices being 4.0 percent lower than they were in the fourth quarter of 2010.

Eighteen of the 20 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) posted monthly declines with only Miami and Phoenix showing a positive change of 0.2 and 0.8 percent, respectively. Both the 10-City and 20-City Composites posted monthly declines of 1.1 percent.

Detroit posted the largest monthly decline in home prices, falling 3.8 percent from November to December, followed by Chicago with a 2.0 percent decline and Atlanta and Minneapolis, both declining by 1.8 percent.

In year-over-year results, the 10-City Composite was 3.9 percent lower than in December of 2010 while the 20-City Composite was 4.0 percent lower than a year earlier.

Nineteen of the 20 MSAs posted year-over-year declines with only Detroit posting a price increase of 0.5 percent. The largest decline in home prices was posted in Atlanta which saw home prices fall 12.8 percent in the last year. Las Vegas had the second largest annual decline of 8.8 percent, followed by Chicago at 6.5 percent and Seattle had an annual decline of 5.6 percent.

David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Indices stated, “In terms of prices, the housing market ended 2011 on a very disappointing note. With this month’s report we saw all three composite hit new record lows. While we thought we saw some signs of stabilization in the middle of 2011, it appears that neither the economy nor consumer confidence was strong enough to move the market in a positive direction as the year ended.

Not accounting for inflation, average home prices across the United States fell back to the same levels they were in the fall of 2002.

From their peak in June/July 2006, index levels for both the 10-City and the 20 City Composites have fallen 33.8 percent.

Four markets, Atlanta, Cleveland, Detroit and Las Vegas, posted average prices that are below their January 2000 levels.

“In general, most of the regions also posted weak data in December. Eighteen of the cities saw average home prices fall in December over November. Seventeen of the cities have seen monthly declines for at least three consecutive months. In addition to both monthly composites, 10 of the cities saw home prices fall by more than 1.0% during the month of December. The pick-up in the economy has simply not been strong enough to keep home prices stabilized. If anything it looks like we might have reentered a period of decline as we begin 2012,” Blitzer added.

Tags: S&P, Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, 10-City Composite, 20-City Composite, home prices