S&P Home Price Index Shows Same Old (Down) Story

Residential News » Residential Real Estate Edition | By Alex Finkelstein | October 28, 2008 10:20 PM ET

(NEW YORK, NY) - Two months to go before 2008 is history and home prices continue to travel south.

Data through August 2008, released today by Standard & Poor's for its S&P/Case-Shiller1 Home Price Indices, the leading measure of U.S. home prices, shows continued broad based declines in the prices of existing single family homes across the United States, a trend that prevailed throughout the first half of 2008 and has continued into the second half.

David Blitzer NEW 10-28-08.JPG

David Blitzer

"The downturn in residential real estate prices continued, with very few bright spots in the data," says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at Standard & Poor's.

"The 10-City Composite and the 20-City Composite reported record 12-month declines. Furthermore, for the fifth (5th) straight month, every region reported negative annual returns.

"This started when Charlotte, NC, was the last region to turn negative back in April 2008. Both the 10-City and 20-City Composites have been in year-over-year decline for 20 consecutive months."

Blitzer says that of the 20 regions, 13 of them had their annual returns worsen from last month's report.

S-P-Home-Chart.jpg'As seen throughout 2008, the Sun Belt markets are being hit the most," the S&P researcher says.  "Phoenix and Las Vegas are both reporting annual declines in excess of 30%, and Miami, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego are all in excess of 25%."

For the August/July period only two  regions, Cleveland and Boston, had positive returns. Cleveland returned +1.1% and Boston returned +0.1%. Boston has had positive monthly returns for each of the past five months.

Dallas and Denver's streaks of four straight positive returning months ended in August. San Francisco was the biggest decliner for the month returning -3.5%. This worsened from its July/June return of -1.8%.

From August 2007 to August 2008, Dallas and Charlotte have the best relative performance. Dallas is down 2.7% over the year and Charlotte is down 2.8%.

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are published on the last Tuesday of each month. S&P's Blitzer says they are constructed to accurately track the price path of typical single-family homes located in each metropolitan area provided.

Each index combines matched price pairs for thousands of individual houses from the available universe of arms-length sales data. The S&P/Case-Shiller National U.S. Home Price Index tracks the value of single-family housing within the United States.

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