Cut to the chase – another weak, disappointing report from S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices.
Little, if any, good news about housing. Prices down while trends in sales and construction are disappointing. Ten of the 11 metro areas that recorded index lows in January fell further in February. The one exception, Detroit, is 30% below its 2000 price level. What can we find that even seems like “good” news? Well, no double dip, at least not yet. Although the 20-City Composite is within a hair’s breadth of a double dip, the 10-City has a 1.5 percentage point margin of “strength.” On the dark side, 14 cities and both Composites have continued to decline month-over-month for more than six consecutive months as of February.
Atlanta, Cleveland, and Las Vegas join Detroit home prices below what their 2000 levels; and Phoenix is barely above its January 2000 level after a new index low. The one positive is Washington D.C. with a positive annual growth rate, +2.7%, and home prices more than 80% over its January 2000 level. Other cities holding on to large gains from 11 years ago include Los Angeles (68.23%), New York (65.19%) and San Diego (55.05%)”
Recent data on existing-home sales, housing starts, foreclosure activity and employment confirm that we are still in a slow recovery. Existing home sales and housing starts rose in March, but remain close to recent lows. Foreclosure activity showed decreases in mortgage delinquencies in the fourth quarter of 2010, but are still close to historic highs. The nation and 34 states registered a decline in their unemployment rates for March.