Home Prices Show Upswing in Q2 According to S&P/Case-Shiller

Residential News » Residential Real Estate Edition | By Michael Gerrity | August 25, 2009 12:30 PM ET

(News Source: Standard & Poor's)

(NEW YORK, NY) -- Data through June 2009, released today by Standard & Poor's for its S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, the leading measure of U.S. home prices, show that the U.S. National Home Price Index improved in the second quarter of 2009.

The chart above depicts the annual returns of the U.S. National, the 10-City Composite and the 20-City Composite Home Price Indices. The S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index - which covers all nine U.S. census divisions - recorded a 14.9% decline in the 2nd quarter of 2009 versus the 2nd quarter of 2008. While still a substantial negative annual rate of return, this is an improvement over the record decline of 19.1% reported in the 1st quarter of the year. The 10-City and 20-City Composites recorded annual declines of 15.1% and 15.4%, respectively. These are also improvements from their recent respective record losses of -19.4% and -19.1%.

"For the second month in a row, we're seeing some positive signs," says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at Standard & Poor's. "The U.S. National Composite rose in the 2nd quarter compared to the 1st quarter of 2009. This is the first time we have seen a positive quarter-over-quarter print in three years. Both the 10-City and 20-City Composites posted monthly increases, as did most of the cities. As seen in both seasonally adjusted and unadjusted data, as well as the charts, there are hints of an upward turn from a bottom. However, some of the hardest hit cities, especially in the Sun Belt, show continued weakness."

The chart above shows the index levels for the U.S. National Home Price Index, as well as its annual returns. As of the 2nd quarter of 2009, average home prices across the United States are at similar levels to what they were in early 2003. From the peak in the second quarter of 2006, average home prices are down 30.2%.

The 10-City and 20-City Composites posted their second consecutive monthly increases. Both indices were up 1.4% in June over May, and up 0.5% in May over April. Eighteen of the 20 metro areas saw improvement in their annual returns compared to those of May. Looking at the monthly data, the same 18 metro areas reported positive returns in June.

In spite of the recent positive data, the overall numbers remain weak, with all metro areas and the two composites posting negative annual returns, and 15 out of the 20 metro areas reporting double digit annual declines. While not alone, Las Vegas and Detroit continue to be two markets that are struggling severely. These are the only two markets that fell in June and saw deterioration in their annual rates of return. Since their relative peaks they have fallen 54.3% and 45.3%, respectively.

More upbeat news is seen in the monthly data across other markets; Dallas and Denver have reported four consecutive months of positive returns. In addition to the two composites, 13 of the MSAs reported positive monthly returns for June that were greater than +1.0%.

The table below summarizes the results for June 2009. The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are revised for the 24 prior months, based on the receipt of additional source data.

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