Latest Housing Prices More Than 30% Below Peak

BY Paul Solman  June 28, 2011 at 3:57 PM EST

This month’s Case-Shiller index is out and, rather than paraphrase or plagiarize Phil Izzo’s succinct account on the Wall Street Journal blog, Real Time Economics, how about we reproduce it?

“S&P/Case-Shiller home-price data showed a gain for most cities in April amid a boost from the start of the spring selling season began, but prices still remain below year-earlier levels.

The composite 20-city home price index, a broad gauge of U.S. home prices, posted a 0.7% increase in April from a month earlier but fell 0.9% from a year earlier.

Nineteen of 20 cities in the index posted annual declines in April — just Washington notched an increase. The monthly rises were more widespread with 13 cities climbing. On a seasonally adjusted basis, which aims to take into account the stronger spring-summer selling season, eight cities — Atlanta, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Phoenix, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C. — posted monthly increases. Miami prices were flat on a seasonally adjusted basis.

Despite some monthly improvement elsewhere, six markets hit their lowest points since home values started dropping more than four years ago [Charlotte, Chicago, Detroit, Las Vegas, Miami and Tampa].”

As has become our monthly custom on the day of the Index release, we include Case-Shiller numbers of the past by way of comparison. The index is set at 100 for January 2000. Every point above or below represents one percent of the 2000 price level. So Tuesday’s number — 140.93 for the seasonally adjusted 20-city sample — means housing is about 41 percent higher, on average, in those cities than it was 11 years ago. That’s an annual increase of nearly 3.75 percent. Those who bought in April 2006, however, when the index hit 206.52, have experienced, on average, a total decrease of more than 31 percent, then to now.

Correction, added June 29: The original headline and text incorrectly stated that the latest home prices were 64 percent below their peak. They have been corrected along with the peak for the seasonally adjusted figure. Thank you to our readers who pointed this out and we apologize for the error.

Map produced by Elizabeth Shell.