A quick glance at the chart accompanying the release of the S& P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices for January clearly resembles a double-dip. But it is not one -- yet.
The 10-City Composite Index fell 0.9% and the 20-City Composite fell 1.0% from December 2010, with only San Diego and Washington D.C. posting positive annual growth rates in January 2011. Compared to January last year, the 10-City Composite was down 2.0% and the 20-City Composite down 3.1%.
Average home prices nationwide are now back at levels last seen in summer, 2003, with the declines from peak in summer, 2006 through January coming in at -31.7% for the 10-City Composite and -31.8% for the 20-City.
The commentary from David M. Blitzer, chair of the index committee at S&P, was dismal. "Keeping with the trends set in late 2010, January brings us weakening home prices with no real hope in sight for the near future," he said. "The housing market recession is not yet over, and none of the statistics are indicating any form of sustained recovery. At most, we have seen all statistics bounce along their troughs; at worst, the feared double-dip recession may be materializing."
S&P has defined a double-dip as a drop in both composites below their April, 2009 bottom. The composites remain 2.8% and 1.1% above those respective troughs.
The only real bright spot in the January report was Washington, which, even though fueled by record government spending, posted an anemic 0.1% gain sequentially and a 3.6% bump year-over year. It remained the strongest market in the nation with an index of 183.75. San Diego was the only other market to remain ahead on a year-over-year basis with another anemic 0.1%.Month-to-month, San Deigo fell back 1.2% to an index of 157.03.
Atlanta (99.59) joined Detroit (66.02), Las Vegas (99.23) and Cleveland(99.36) on the list of markets in which home prices have fallen behind January, 2000 (100). The cities were down 0.4%, 1.7%, 0.3% and 0.8%, respectively, on a sequential basis and down 7%, 8.1%, 4.4% and 3.8% year-over-year.
Should current trends continue, Phoenix, at 101.54, down 1.5% month-to-month and 9.1% year-over-year, would be the next market to join the bottom four.Charlotte, at 111.50, down 1.1% and 4.8%, respectively, is next up in the ranking, as is Minneapolis (113.21), down 3.4% and 7.6% and Chciago (115.78), down 1.8% and 7.5%.
Dallas was also sub-120 at 114.07, but it was down only 0.5% month-to-month and 2.8% year-over-year. A similar story fits Denver, which remains above 120 at 122.73 and was off 1.1% and 2.3%, respectively.
In California, Lost Angeles fell to 169.88, down 0.6% and 1.8% and San Francisco dropped to 133.37, down 1.9% and 1.7%, respectively. In the Northwest, Seattle (135.41) was down 2.4% and 6.7%, and Portland (135.80) was down 1.8% and 7.8%. In Florida, Miami (141.30) was down 1.3% and 4.7% and Tampa (128.52) was down 1% and 7%.