U.S. home prices dropped further than expected last year, showing the housing industry remains significantly stressed despite recent reports suggesting otherwise.
The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, which measures home prices in 20 cities, fell 3.8 percent in December from November and 4 percent from a year ago.
Prices in the Charlotte metropolitan area fell 2 percent from November and were down 2.3 percent from December 2010, according to the index, which tracks repeat sales.
Nineteen of 20 cities saw prices decline on a monthly basis, with Phoenix yet again being the only city to post an increase. On an annual basis, Detroit was the only city on the index to post a gain. Prices there nudged up .5 percent. Atlanta continues to suffer among the most, posting a nearly 13 percent drop from December 2010, followed by Las Vegas with a 8.8 percent annual decline.
“In terms of pricing, the housing market ended 2011 on a very disappointing note, said David Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Indices.”While we thought we saw some signs of stabilization in the middle of 2011, it appears that neither the economy nor consumer confidence was strong enough to move the market in a positive direction as the year ended.”
The housing market had shown promising signs, according to a report by The National Association of Realtors. The group recently said its Pending Home Sales Index, based on contracts signed in January, increased 2 percent to 97.0 -- the highest reading since April 2010.
But Tuesday's gloomy report suggests the market may falter again this year.
Since housing prices began falling rapidly in 2006, the market has had two years of a market "that is bottoming out but not yet stabilized," Blitzer said. "Up until today's report we had believed the crisis lows for the composites were behind us."
But, he said, "The pick-up in the economy has simply not been enough to keep home prices stabilized. If anything it looks like we might have reentered a period of decline as we begin 2012."
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
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