Metros Experience the Biggest Home Price Declines Ever

New York–Data through October 2008, released this week by Standard & Poor’s, shows continued broad-based declines in the prices of existing single family homes across the United States, with 14 of the 20 metro areas showing record rates of annual decline and 14 now reporting declines in excess of 10 percent versus October 2007.”The bear market continues; home prices are back to their March 2004 levels,” says David M. Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at Standard & Poor’s. “Both composite indices and 14 of the 20 metro areas are reporting new record rates of decline. As of October 2008, the 10-City Composite is down 25.0 percent from its mid-2006 peak, and the 20-City Composite is down 23.4 percent. In October, we also saw three new markets enter the ‘double-digit’ club. Atlanta, Seattle and Portland are reporting annual rates of decline 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.”Three of the metro areas have given back, on average, more than 30 percent of the value of homes 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 31.0 percent. Miami, Los Angeles, and San Diego were close behind with annual declines of 29.0 percent, 27.9 percent and 26.7 percent, respectively.Monthly data also do not show much improvement in the national housing market. All 20 metro areas, and the two composites, posted their second consecutive monthly decline. In addition, six of the MSAs 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 in national home prices.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 -3.0 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 their year-over-year returns compared to last month’s report.