Sun04202014

Business

Home prices at bust-level lows

American home values – as measured by the latest Case-Shiller home price index – dipped in the first quarter of 2011, hitting the lowest levels seen since the bust hit the housing market. American home values – as measured by the latest Case-Shiller home price index – dipped in the first quarter of 2011, hitting the lowest levels seen since the bust hit the housing market.

According the home price index, home prices hit levels last seen in mid-2002.

The highest annual decline, 10 percent, was recorded in Minneapolis, the first market to be back in this territory since March 2010 when Las Vegas was down 12 percent on an annual basis. Washington, D.C. (monthly, +1.1 percent and annual, +4.3 percent) was the only metro area that saw evidence of a home-price increase among the 20 such areas that the index measures. Seattle was up a modest 0.1 percent for the month, but still down 7.5 percent versus March 2010.

“Home prices continue on their downward spiral with no relief in sight,” said David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Indices.

“This month’s report is marked by the confirmation of a double-dip in home prices across much of the nation. 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 percent over the first quarter alone, and is down 5.1 percent compared to its year-ago level.”

Blitzer said since December 2010, an increasing number of markets have posted new lows.

“The rebound in prices seen in 2009 and 2010 was largely due to the first-time home buyers tax credit. Excluding the results of that policy, there has been no recovery or even stabilization in home prices during or after the recent recession. Further, while last year saw signs of an economic recovery, the most recent data do not point to renewed gains,” Blitzer said.

According to the Memphis Area Association of REALTORS®, April’s pending sales (1,654) were the highest they have been in the last six months. Median sales price from March to April was flat, at $79,900.

“Every market in the country is different,” said MAAR President Leon Dickson. “Our April pending sales showed a 4.8 percent increase and that is encouraging going forward. Every market has some challenges with distressed properties, but year-to-date bank sales in the Memphis area have dropped almost 24 percent. We’re hopeful the local market will continue to show steady, if gradual, improvement.”

(For more information, visit www.standardandpoors.com/indices.)

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