S&P/Case-Shiller sees a double dip in home prices

The S&P/Case-Shiller Index, a leading indicator of U.S. housing prices, recorded declines in 19 of the 20 MSAs compared to March 2010. Twelve of the 20 MSAs and the 20-City Composite also posted new index lows in March. 

The U.S. National Home Price Index declined by 4.2% in the first quarter of 2011, after having fallen 3.6% in the fourth quarter of 2010.  The National Index hit a new recession low with the first quarter’s data and posted an annual decline of 5.1% versus the first quarter of 2010. Nationally, home prices are back to their mid-2002 levels. 

“This month’s report is marked by the confirmation of a double-dip in home prices across much of the nation,” said David Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the S&P Index Committee. “The National Index, the 20-City Composite and 12 MSAs all hit new lows with data reported through March 2011. The National Index fell 4.2% over the first quarter alone, and is down 5.1% compared to its year-ago level. Home prices continue on their downward spiral with no relief in sight.”

“Since December 2010, we have found an increasing number of markets posting new lows,” Blitzer continued. “In March 2011, 12 cities - Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Las Vegas, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, Phoenix, Portland, and Tampa - fell to their lowest levels as measured by the current housing cycle. Washington D.C. was the only MSA displaying positive trends with an annual growth rate of [positive] 4.3% and a 1.1% increase from its February level. 

“Looking deeper into the monthly data, 18 MSAs and both composites were down in March over February. The only two which weren’t, are Washington DC, up 1.1%, and Seattle, up 0.1%. Atlanta, Cleveland, Detroit and Las Vegas are the markets where average home prices are now below their January 2000 levels.  With a March index level of 100.27, Phoenix is not far off.”