July 2012 data for the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices were released on Tuesday September 25th, showing the fourth consecutive monthly increase in condo prices in all five of the metro areas covered by our indices – Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco. It would have been the fifth had Chicago prices not fallen by 0.3% in March. All five cities saw increases in both condo and existing home prices in each of April through July.
The New York index reported the largest condo price increase, up 2.4% in July. Chicago was next, +2.3%. Condo prices in Boston, Los Angeles and San Francisco rose by 0.4%, 1.6% and 2.1% in July, respectively.
With July’s report, Boston’s condo prices showed positive annual changes for the fifth consecutive month, up 1.6% versus July 2011. This, however, was the third month of deceleration in that statistic since the +2.5% rate posted in April. New York and San Francisco’s annual rates of return accelerated in July. New York condo prices were up 4.4% and San Francisco up 8.1% versus where they were in July 2011.
Chicago condo prices posted the largest annual decline, -4.7%, but July’s monthly 2.3% increase keeps the index level comfortably above 100. An index level of 109.47 indicates that average condo prices in Chicago were back to their late-2000 levels. While Chicago remains the weakest condo market of the five we follow, prices improved a cumulative 12.0% in that market between April and July. Los Angeles condo prices were up in each month of March through July, but are still down 0.1% versus July 2011.
The chart below compares the index levels for the five condo markets covered by the indices, rebased to 1995 = 100. Chicago (grey) is well below the other cities, where average condo prices are back to their late 2000 levels. In terms of annual rates of return, the Chicago market has not been positive since September 2007, almost five years ago. Los Angeles’ (blue) condo market prices are back to their late-2003 levels. Boston (black) and San Francisco (red) are back to their early/mid 2004 levels. Boston and New York (green) remain the healthiest since the beginning of the housing crisis, with both markets more than 175% higher than they were in January 1995.
Boston, New York and San Francisco condo prices are up compared to a year ago, as the table below highlights. Boston and San Francisco are the two markets where both condo and home prices were increasing at an annual pace in July. Los Angeles condo prices were down a slight 0.1% versus July 2011. New York continues to show relative strength in the condo market, but weakness in the housing market as prices remain below where they were a year ago. Home prices in that market were down 2.6% in July 2012 versus July 2011, while condo prices were up 4.4%. In spite of recent increases in monthly statistics, Chicago condo and home prices are below their year-ago levels.
As we illustrate every month, the chart below shows the differences between Boston, Chicago and New York condo and single-family home prices since 1995. Boston (purple) and New York (green) condo markets are the best relative performers. Both markets’ condo prices are up over 175% versus January 1995; whereas Chicago prices are up only about 38%. Chicago condo prices have fallen by 32.0% since their September 2007 peak; whereas the Boston and New York markets have fallen by only 9.9% and 10.9%, respectively.
The chart below shows the differences between New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco since 2000. The green, grey and orange lines represent the respective condo markets. New York condo prices were the most stable over the prior three years, but San Francisco has seen the most improvement in the past five months, up a cumulative 17.4%. The LA condo market has fallen by 39.0% since its July 2006 peak; the San Francisco market has fallen by 27.5% since its October 2005 peak; and the New York market has only fallen by 10.9% from its February 2006 peak.