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S&P Report: Home Price Declines Worsen

Broad-based declines in the prices of existing single family homes continued across the United States through the month of October, according to data released today by "Standard & Poor’s":http://www.standardandpoors.com/. The "S&P/Case-Shiller home price indices":http://www.homeprice.standardandpoors.com show that 14 of the 20 metro areas studied experienced record rates of annual decline, with 14 now reporting declines in excess of 10 percent compared to October 2007.
"The bear market continues; home prices are back to their March 2004 levels," commented David M. Blitzer, chairman of S&P's index committee. Blitzer added that both composite indices are also reporting new record rates of decline. As of October 2008, the 10-city composite is down 25 percent from its mid-2006 peak, and the 20-city index is down 23.4 percent, Blitzer said.
"In October, we also saw three new markets enter the ‘double-digit’ club," Blitzer said. Atlanta, Seattle, and Portland reported annual declines of 10.5 percent, 10.2 percent, and 10.1 percent, respectively. "While not yet experiencing as severe a contraction as in the Sunbelt, it seems the Pacific Northwest and Mid-Atlantic South is not immune to the overall demise in the housing market," Blitzer said.
According to the S&P/Case Shiller report, three of the metro areas surveyed have given back, on average, more than 30 percent of their homes' values since October of last year. Phoenix remains the weakest market, reporting an annual decline of 32.7 percent, followed by Las Vegas, down 31.7 percent, and San Francisco, down 31 percent. Miami (29 percent), Los Angeles (27.9 percent), and San Diego (26.7 percent) were not far behind.
Month-to-month data also reveals little improvement in the national housing market, S&P said. All 20 metro areas included in the study, as well as the two composites, posted their second consecutive monthly decline. In addition, six metros had their largest monthly decline on record - Atlanta, Charlotte, Detroit, Minneapolis, Tampa, and Washington. Most of the positive monthly data recorded in the spring and summer months merely reflects seasonal patterns in home prices, as opposed to a turnaround in the downward spiral of national home prices, S&P said.
Dallas and Charlotte faired the best in October in terms of relative year-over-year returns. Still in negative territory, their declines remained in low single digits of -3 percent and -4.4 percent, respectively. It should be noted, however, that both of these values are worse than those reported in the September data. In addition, Charlotte also reported its second consecutive largest monthly decline on record, down 1.8 percent. Cleveland and Denver were the only markets that showed any improvement in year-over-year returns compared to last month’s report.
The S&P/Case-Shiller national home price index tracks the value of single-family housing within metropolitan areas across the United States. Each index combines matched price pairs for thousands of individual houses from the available universe of arms-length sales data. The indices are produced by "Fiserv Inc.":http://www.fiserv.com, and are generated and published under agreements between S&P and Fiserv. For more information on the S&P/Case Shiller home price measure, as well as the historical data series for the study, "click here":http://www.homeprice.standardandpoors.com.

About Author: Carrie Bay

Carrie Bay is a freelance writer for DS News and its sister publication MReport. She served as online editor for DSNews.com from 2008 through 2011. Prior to joining DS News and the Five Star organization, she managed public relations, marketing, and media relations initiatives for several B2B companies in the financial services, technology, and telecommunications industries. She also wrote for retail and nonprofit organizations upon graduating from Texas A&M University with degrees in journalism and English.

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