Case-Shiller November Report: A Smidgen Of Good News

The Case-Shiller report is out for November home prices and it paints the usual grim picture. Here is a summary from the WSJ Real Time Economics site. 

The indexes showed prices in 10 major metropolitan areas fell 19.1% in November from a year earlier and 2.2% from October. The drop marks the 10-city index’s 14th-straight monthly report of a record decline. In 20 major metropolitan areas, home prices dropped 18.2% from the prior year, also a record, and 2.2% from October.

As of November, the 10-city index is down 27% from its mid-2006 peak and the 20-city is down 25%. The two indexes have fallen every month since August 2006, 28 straight.

Believe it or not there was a germ of good news in the report. The 10 city composite index fell at a year-over-year rate of 19.1% which was the same as the rate of decline in October. That’s the first time since prices started declining that we haven’t seen an increase in the rate of decline. I know it doesn’t sound like much but you can’t start recovering until you stop declining. Hey, it’s early in the day so I stll have some morning optimism.

Here are the numbers for individual cities and here is the link to the actual report.

(About the numbers: The Case Shiller indices have a base value of 100 in January 2000. So a current index value of 150 translates to a 50% appreciation rate since January 2000 for a typical home located within the metro market.)

Home Prices, by Metro Area


Metro Area    November 2008    Change from October    Year-over-year change   
Atlanta 116.57 -2.7% -11.2%
Boston 155.03 -2.6% -7.4%
Charlotte 125.61 -1.9% -5.3%
Chicago 141.44 -2.8% -12.5%
Cleveland 107.43 -1.2% -5.2%
Dallas 118.34 -1.9% -3.3%
Denver 127.65 -1.1% -4.3%
Detroit 83.42 -3.1% -20.7%
Las Vegas 138.04 -3.3% -31.6%
Los Angeles 175.85 -2.2% -26.9%
Miami 169.62 -2.2% -28.7%
Minneapolis 133.22 -2.1% -16.3%
New York 186.81 -1.6% -8.6%
Phoenix 130.54 -3.4% -32.9%
Portland 162.62 -2.3% -11.5%
San Diego 155.47 -2.3% -25.8%
San Francisco 135.28 -3.0% -30.8%
Seattle 166.23 -2.5% -11.2%
Tampa 160.86 -2.8% -20.9%
Washington 180.50 -2.4% -19.4%
Source: Standard & Poor’s and FiservData
One thing that has always intrigued me about this chart is the amount of positive equity that still exists for homeowners that owned or bought a home in 2000 or before. In most instances, they still have solid gains. Take Phoenix for example. There is still a 30% gain for anyone who owned in 2000 despite a 33% drop in prices through November.
Perhaps if you broke the data down into price points you would see a different picture. I suspect that the lower end might have depreciated more relative to higher priced homes. Calculated Risk feels that foreclosures are going to move up the price chain in 2009 so perhaps that will make a difference in how the numbers shake out.
Just some idle musing. It could tell us nothing more than that if you timed it right you came out OK or it could tell us that we still have lots of room for more pain.
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