Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Home Prices Continue to Decline Across the Country

December-January-February are not the best months to look at housing data since wintry weather conditions impact numbers across a broad swath of the United States.

So for what its worth, here's an overview of the latest (December) S&P/Case-Schiller index data.

The index continued to post record declines in December. National home prices hit levels last seen in 2003.

In the 20-city index, no area experienced year-over-year price gains, the ninth straight month that has happened. Further, none of the cities managed to avoid month-to-month declines for the third month in a row.

The worst performing cities in terms of year-over-year declines were, however, cities that are NOT generally impacted by weather. Phoenix was down 34.0%, Las Vegas -33.0% and San Francisco -31.2%.

Denver, Dallas, Cleveland and Boston fared the best in terms of annual declines down 4.0%, 4.3%, 6.1% and 7.0%, respectively, but again these are winter-impacted cities so pluses and minuses don't mean as much.

As of December, 18 of the 20 metro areas are in double digit declines from their peaks, with half posting declines of greater than 20% and four of those (Las Vegas, Miami, Phoenix and San Francisco) in excess of 40%.


  1. The hotter cities you mention may actually be countercyclical where sales go up before winter. Call it the snowbird effect.

  2. Good point, No Axe.

    This is true. However, the house shopping "season" is likely to be the same from year to year. In the cold states, during the winter months, it will vary from year to year depending upon such factors at
    how cold it is, or how many snowstorms there are--which could prevent people from going out even if they wanted to. On the other hand a mild winter might even catch some casual buyers.

    The sunbelt states just aren't impacted by weather this way from year-to-year.