Looking across the 20 cities followed by the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices a few trends stand out. First, where the boom was biggest, so is the bust — the Sun Belt cities of Miami, Tampa, Las Vegas and Phoenix saw some of the biggest gains and continue to suffer most of the largest losses. Its not just the bigger they were, the harder they fell. Its also where there was a lot of available land and space and far too much over-building. Second, California has close to a monopoly on recovery. Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego are all comfortably above their recent lows. Third, the local economy and economic base makes a big difference. Detroit, suffering from difficulties in the auto industry, has the cheapest houses compared to levels in 2000 while Washington is supported by a stable government-focused local economy. The table below tells the story in the numbers.
Questions and comments from journalists and others each month reminds us that competitive spirit is not limited to rooting for the home town sports team. Questions, or worries, about how a city ranks compared to the others seem to crop up all the time. Here’s the scorecard: