National home prices continued to fall during the fourth quarter of 2010 accordind to the latest data from the S&P/Case Shiller Home Price Indicies.
During the quarter, the National Index fell 4.1% versus the fourth quarter of 2009, which is the lowest annual growth rate since the third quarter of 2009, when prices were falling at an 8.6% annual rate said S&P.
As of December 2010, 18 of the 20 MSAs covered by S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices and both monthly composites were down compared to December 2009. Both Los Angeles and San Francisco reported negative annual rates of return in December, leaving San Diego and Washington DC as the only two cities where home prices are increasing on a year-over-year basis, +1.7% and +4.1%, respectively.
The S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index, which covers all nine U.S. census divisions, recorded a 4.1% decline in the fourth quarter of 2010 over the fourth quarter of 2009. In December, the 10- and 20-City Composites posted annual rates of decline of 1.2% and 2.4%, respectively. Thirteen of the 20 MSAs and both monthly Composites saw their annual growth rates fall in December versus November.
Despite improvemnts in the overall economy, housing continues to drift lower and weaker said David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at Standard & Poor’s.
“Unlike the 2006 to 2009 period when all cities saw prices move together, we see some differing stories around the country,” he said. “California is doing better with gains from their low points in Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco. At the other end is the Sun Belt – Las Vegas, Miami, Phoenix and Tampa. All four made new lows in December. Also seeing renewed weakness are some cities that were among the last to reach their peaks including Atlanta, Charlotte, Portland OR and Seattle, where news lows were also seen. Dallas, which peaked late, has so far stayed above its low marked in February 2009.”
“The 10- and 20-City Composite indices remain above their spring 2009 lows; however, 11 markets – Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Detroit, Las Vegas, Miami, New York, Phoenix, Portland (OR), Seattle and Tampa – hit their lowest levels since home prices peaked in 2006 and 2007. We have seen more markets hit new lows in each of the past three months.”
“Looking deeper into the monthly data, 19 MSAs and both Composites were down in December over November. The only one which wasn’t was Washington DC, up 0.3%. With December 2010 index levels of 99.73 and 99.48, respectively, Cleveland and Las Vegas have the dubious distinction of average home prices now below their January 2000 levels. Detroit was the only market that was in that group prior to December”