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Case-Shiller Index: Home Price Declines Are Slowing

by Will Smith

Arguably the most-watched measure of national and regional housing prices, the monthly Case-Shiller Home Price Index, was published today for the month of April. The key finding squares with what most pundits have been saying in recent months: home prices are still declining, but at a slower rate than before.

While that news is positive and is further evidence that the housing market has stabilized, David M. Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at Standard & Poor’s, cautioned that it will take months to be sure.

“The pace of decline in residential real estate slowed in April,” Blitzer was quoted in the announcement. “While one month’s data cannot determine if a turnaround has begun; it seems that some stabilization may be appearing in some of the regions. We are entering the seasonally strong period in the housing market, so it will take some time to determine if a recovery is really here.”

The report shows that home prices across the 20 metro regions that the index measures declined 18.1 percent from April 2008 to April 2009. That is an improvement over March, when the annual national decline was 18.7 percent.

The DC metropolitan area fared better than the 20-city average, with an April-to-April annual decline of 16.9 percent. The report also shows that DC prices actually increased slightly — 0.8 percent — from March to April. It is important to note, however, that such month-to-month statistics are less reliable trend indicators because seasonality plays such a large role in housing market activity.

Following is a chart for all 20 metropolitan areas measured in Case-Shiller:

Home prices are now back to their 2003 levels. The worst-hit markets of Phoenix and Las Vegas have lost more than half their value since peaking in 2006. Dallas has fared the best (or better said, the least bad), with only a 9.6 percent decline since peaking in June 2007.

For the full press release from Case-Shiller, click here.

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/case-shiller_index_home_price_declines_are_slowing/1086

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