Home prices may vary
S&P/Case-Shiller’s Home Price Indices through February 2012 reveal annual declines of 3.6 percent and 3.5 percent for 10- and 20-City Composites, respectively, marking an improvement over the annual rates posted for January (when they were down 4.1 percent and down 3.9 percent, respectively).
As of February 2012, nine Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) saw new post-crisis lows – Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Las Vegas, New York, Portland, Seattle and Tampa. The most notable sliding prices are in Atlanta whose slide continues to be the most dramatic, nationally, with home prices falling 17.3 percent from February 2011 to February 2012, and falling 2.5 percent between January and February of 2012. No other city comes close to the plummeting prices in Atlanta.
Zillow’s Chief Economist, Dr. Stan Humphries said, “February’s Case-Shiller indices tell more of the same story: Foreclosure re-sales continued to pull down home prices. Although sales were up in February, foreclosure re-sales still made up about one-fifth of all sales.”
5 cities up, 9 cities down
Although nine cities saw lows, five cities actually saw annual improvement – Denver, Detroit, Miami, Minneapolis and Phoenix. According to S&P, Phoenix, which is one of the cities that fared the worst during the crisis, has now posted two consecutive months of positive annual returns and five consecutive positive monthly returns. However, it is still down 54.2 percent from its peak. As a point of comparison, prices in Las Vegas are off 61.7 percent from the peak, and prices in Dallas only off 8.2 percent from the peak.
“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.
Dr. Humphries added, “Looking forward, we think homes sales will continue to trend upward, which ultimately will result in a slower rate of home value depreciation. But any housing recovery will be dependent on job growth. Continued progress in this area is essential to keeping the housing recovery, such as it is, on track.”