Entries in Housing Prices (4)


Housing Prices Fell 3.9 Percent in 2011, Back to 2003 Levels

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Home prices showed little change in the third quarter nationally, edging up 0.1 percent from the prior period, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index. Overall, home prices are back to their first quarter of 2003 levels.

Economists expected little change in the data through September from the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, a widely-used measure of U.S. home prices.

The national index posted an annual decline of 3.9 percent through the third quarter of 2011, an improvement over the 5.8 percent decline posted in the second quarter.  Housing prices collapsed in most areas of the U.S. following the financial crisis.

“Over the last year home prices in most cities drifted lower,” David Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Indices, said in a statement. “The plunging collapse of prices seen in 2007-2009 seems to be behind us. Any chance for a sustained recovery will probably need a stronger economy.”

The annual rate of change in 14 of the 20 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) and both 10-city and 20-city composite indices improved versus August. Atlanta, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Tampa, Fla., recorded lower annual declines in September compared to August. Detroit and Washington, D.C. were the only two MSAs to show positive annual rates of +3.7 percent and +1 percent, respectively. Detroit has now recorded three consecutive months of positive annual rates.

Last month, the S&P/Case-Shiller Indices showed U.S. home prices showed housing prices increased 0.2 percent in August for the 10- and 20-city composite measurements, compared with July.

In September, three cities, Atlanta, Las Vegas and Phoenix, posted new index lows.

Blitzer said “it is a bit disturbing that we saw three cities post new crisis lows.”

On a monthly basis, Atlanta actually posted a record low rate of -5.9 percent in September over August, Blitzer said.

“The markets are fairly thin, and the relative lack of closed transactions might be exacerbating the downside,” he said. “The relative good news is that 14 cities saw improvements in their annual rates of change, versus the six that weakened.”

Only New York, Portland and Washington, D.C., showed positive monthly returns versus August.

Meanwhile mortgage rates continue to remain in their 60-year lows. Freddie Mac reported the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.98 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending Nov. 23, down from last week when it averaged 4 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.40 percent. The 15-year FRM averaged 3.30 percent with an average 0.7 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.31 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.77 percent.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐


Economist Forecasts 20 Percent Further Drop in Housing Prices 

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- When will we reach bottom in the housing market? With lenders filing foreclosures more slowly and an excess inventory of homes, housing prices could fall another 20 percent next year, says one economist. Gary Shilling, one of the economists who predicted the subprime mortgage crisis, says the "depressing effect" of two to 2.5 million homes in excess inventory will push prices down.

Foreclosure filings, in which lenders take back homes with delinquent mortgage payments, decreased 30 percent in the first half of 2011 compared to the same period last year. Banks seized 421,212 homes in the first six months of the year, down from 529,633 in the first half of last year, foreclosure listing company, RealtyTrac Inc. said Thursday.

But questions that began last fall about hastily-signed foreclosure filings, in part, have led to slower approvals. RealtyTrac estimates that 1 million foreclosure-related notices that should have been filed by banks this year will be pushed to next year.

With only 18,000 jobs added in June, the country also has a high unemployment rate at 9.2 percent. Also contributing to a decrease in housing demand is an overleveraged consumer base and home prices that have already seen a double-dip decline, according to the Case-Shiller Index, Shilling said.

"In the past, almost everyone was sure that house prices would never fall, and on a national level, they hadn't since the 1930s," Shilling wrote. "Now everyone knows prices can fall, have collapsed and continue to drop. Who wants to buy an asset that is highly likely to continue dropping in price?"

Shilling said a place to live and a great investment "are no longer contained in the same package," an owner-occupied home. He added the "zeal" to buy the biggest house one can afford is gone and households are seeking smaller abodes.

Steven Leslie, lead analyst with Economist Intelligence Unit's Financial Services Briefing, said he agrees that housing is in a long-term slump.

Leslie said he has "a lot of respect" for Shilling, who is a "big bear on the housing market," but he points out that rent prices have increased. Leslie said rental prices typically have more influence on housing prices than housing inventory.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Home Prices Jump in 13 US Cities

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Home prices in major U.S. cities have risen for the first time in eight months as a result of an annual boost of spring buyers. 

According to the Standard and Poor's/Case Shiller Index of home prices, prices have risen for homes in 13 of 20 cities studied. This marks the first time the Case Shiller index has increased since last July.

Prices rose the most in Washington, D.C. Prices in the Charlotte, Chicago, Detroit, Las Vegas, Miami and Tampa areas, on the other hand, hit their lowest in 4 years.

Experts point out that the report for April does not mean things are turning around. The numbers can bounce around from month to month and this small gain in 13 out of the top 20 markets comes after months of declines.

Maureen Maitland of S & P, says the .7-percent increase in the 20-city index doesn't add up to any increase in the annual rate and comes as no surprise.

"These numbers, I believe were largely expected because we're entering a seasonal buying pattern for home prices," said Maitland. "I think most people are expecting to see home prices generally increase in the spring and summer."

Maitland says it would take months of strong numbers to reverse the current down market.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Many Hesistant to Buy Homes Despite Lower Mortgage Rates, Prices

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Mortgage rates are low and housing prices have dropped, but many consumers are still very reluctant to buy.

Drops in sales of new and existing homes fell last month, but so have average prices.  Yet, comparisons between the two are difficult to make.

"These prices are reflecting smaller homes with more modest amenities," says David Crowe of the National Associated of Home Builders.

Local housing markets also vary a great deal, with some faring better than others.

"There are markets in the country that are beginning to recover," says Crowe.  "States like Texas and Oklahoma are doing okay."

Despite improvements in some markets, prices are being dragged down in places where there are many foreclosures.´╗┐

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio