Case-Shiller Index: Housing Prices Decline

The New York Times has gathered data from the Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller index, which charts prices from 20 major cities across the U.S., to examine how home prices have changed recently. Prices peaked in mid-2006 and soon began their precipitous downturn.  April of 2009 marks the month when home prices appeared to bottom out and commence a sluggish recovery; however, recent data suggests that home prices have actually fallen below this previous low point.

Markets in the 20 metropolitan areas that the index covers have seen prices drop 1.8 percent since April 2009 and 4.0 percent from the beginning to the end of 2011.  Cities like Charlotte, Portland, Seattle and Atlanta where housing prices peaked later – 2007 as opposed to mid-2006 – have experienced the greatest decline.  San Francisco, Detroit, Boston and other housing markets that peaked prematurely in late 2005 to early 2006 have seen prices increase or only slightly decrease since April 2009.  The relationship between when the high point occurred and the change in prices since April 2009 stems from the length of time needed for the markets to self-correct.   For instance in Seattle, where the market peaked in July of 2007, prices are still dropping to realign with income levels in the region.  Of the twenty metropolitan areas, the Las Vegas market has seen the steepest decline in prices, dropping 19.3% since April 2009.  San Francisco, on the other hand, where the market peaked early in 2006, has actually experienced an 8.7 percent increase in housing prices.  
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