National Home Prices Hit New Low in 2011

National Home Prices Hit New Low in 2011 NEW YORK, NY - Data through March 2011, released by Standard & Poor's for its S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, the leading measure of U.S. home prices, show that the U.S. National Home Price Index declined by 4.2% in the first quarter of 2011, after having fallen 3.6% in the fourth quarter of 2010. The National Index hit a new recession low with the first quarter's data and posted an annual decline of 5.1% versus the first quarter of 2010. Nationally, home prices are back to their mid-2002 levels.

As of March 2011, 19 of the 20 MSAs covered by S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices and both monthly composites were down compared to March 2010. Twelve of the 20 MSAs and the 20-City Composite also posted new index lows in March. With an index value of 138.16, the 20-City Composite fell below its earlier reported April 2009 low of 139.26. Minneapolis posted a double-digit 10.0% annual decline, the first market to be back in this territory since March 2010 when Las Vegas was down 12.0% on an annual basis. In the midst of all these falling prices and record lows, Washington DC was the only city where home prices increased on both a monthly (+1.1%) and annual (+4.3%) basis. Seattle was up a modest 0.1% for the month, but still down 7.5% versus March 2010.

The S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index, which covers all nine U.S. census divisions, recorded a 5.1% decline in the first quarter of 2011 over the first quarter of 2010. In March, the 10- and 20-City Composites posted annual rates of decline of 2.9% and 3.6%, respectively. Thirteen of the 20 MSAs and both monthly Composites saw their annual growth rates fall deeper into negative territory in March. While they did not worsen, Chicago, Phoenix and Seattle saw no improvement in their respective annual rates.

"This month's report is marked by the confirmation of a double-dip in home prices across much of the nation. The National Index, the 20-City Composite and 12 MSAs all hit new lows with data reported through March 2011. The National Index fell 4.2% over the first quarter alone, and is down 5.1% compared to its year-ago level. Home prices continue on their downward spiral with no relief in sight," says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Indices. "Since December 2010, we have found an increasing number of markets posting new lows. In March 2011, 12 cities - Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Las Vegas, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, Phoenix, Portland (OR) and Tampa - fell to their lowest levels as measured by the current housing cycle. Washington D.C. was the only MSA displaying positive trends with an annual growth rate of +4.3% and a 1.1% increase from its February level.

"The rebound in prices seen in 2009 and 2010 was largely due to the first-time home buyers tax credit. Excluding the results of that policy, there has been no recovery or even stabilization in home prices during or after the recent recession. Further, while last year saw signs of an economic recovery, the most recent data do not point to renewed gains.

"Looking deeper into the monthly data, 18 MSAs and both Composites were down in March over February. The only two which weren't, are Washington DC, up 1.1%, and Seattle, up 0.1%. Atlanta, Cleveland, Detroit and Las Vegas are the markets where average home prices are now below their January 2000 levels. With a March index level of 100.27, Phoenix is not far off."

As of the first quarter of 2011, average home prices across the United States are back at their mid-2002 levels. The National Index level hit a new low in the first quarter of 2011; it fell by 4.2% in the first quarter of 2011 and is 5.1% below its 2010Q1 level.

Eleven cities and both Composites have posted at least eight consecutive months of negative month-over-month returns. Of these, eight cities are down 1% or more. The only cities to post positive improvements in March versus their February levels are Seattle and Washington D.C. with monthly returns of +0.1% and +1.1% respectively.

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are revised for the 24 prior months, based on the receipt of additional source data. More than 23 years of history for these data series is available, and can be accessed in full by going to www.homeprice.standardandpoors.com

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are published on the last Tuesday of each month at 9:00 am ET. They are constructed to accurately track the price path of typical single-family homes located in each metropolitan area provided. Each index combines matched price pairs for thousands of individual houses from the available universe of arms-length sales data. The S&P/Case-Shiller National U.S. Home Price Index tracks the value of single-family housing within the United States. The index is a composite of single-family home price indices for the nine U.S. Census divisions and is calculated quarterly. The S&P/Case-Shiller Composite of 10 Home Price Index is a value-weighted average of the 10 original metro area indices. The S&P/Case-Shiller Composite of 20 Home Price Index is a value-weighted average of the 20 metro area indices. The indices have a base value of 100 in January 2000; thus, for example, a current index value of 150 translates to a 50% appreciation rate since January 2000 for a typical home located within the subject market.
Source: Standard & Poor's

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