Home values continue to struggle against the forces of foreclosure and a weak economic recovery, according to the closely watched Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller home price indices released Tuesday.
“Overall, there are few, if any, good numbers in this month’s data,” summarized David M. Blitzer, chair of Standard & Poor’s index committee.
Patrick Newport, U.S. economist for IHS Global Insight, agreed. “Housing demand fell off a cliff after the second tax credit expired,” he said. “This drop in demand is now showing up in broad-based declines in housing prices.”
Case-Shiller’s national home price index, which is released quarterly, slipped 2% in 2010’s third quarter, giving back much of the previous quarter’s 4.7% gain. On an annual basis, this benchmark is down 1.5%. This particular index covers all nine U.S. Census regions and is a composite of single-family home prices for those areas of the country.
Similarly, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) noted a 1.6% decline in its quarterly home price index that was released last week.
(Both the Case-Shiller and FHFA indices track home values, but they are calculated differently. FHFA’s figures are based on the purchase prices of homes with loans owned or guaranteed by government-sponsored enterprises (GSE) Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae in all 50 states, while Case-Shiller’s data includes homes purchased with jumbo loans. Case-Shiller’s more well-known monthly indices focus on the 20 largest markets in the country.)
In September, Case-Shiller’s 10-city composite, which includes Boston, Chicago, Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Diego, San Francisco, and Washington, slipped 0.5%. Meanwhile the 20-city composite, which incorporates the 10 cities previously mentioned as well as Atlanta, Charlotte, Cleveland, Dallas, Detroit, Minneapolis, Phoenix; Portland, Ore.; Seattle, and Tampa, dipped 0.7% compared to the previous month.
Both of these metro-market composites did report small annual gains. The 10-city composite was up 1.6% year-over-year, while the 20-city index improved 0.6%.
But those improvements were not enough to comfort economists and others.
“While some of the bad numbers may reflect the end of the government’s tax incentive for first time home-buyers, there are other problems weighing on the housing market,” Blitzer said. “The national economy is certainly the number one issue for housing. Additionally, there is a large supply of houses on the market and further, hidden, supply due to delinquent mortgages, pending foreclosures, or vacant homes. New construction is running at less than half the pace needed to meet normal demand, so a sustained recovery could be a ways off.”
Alison Rice is senior editor, online, at BUILDER magazine.
Learn more about markets featured in this article: Atlanta, GA.