Zazzle Shop

Screen printing

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Home Prices Plummet to New Record

National prices fell 15.4% in past 12 months. Las Vegas was the worst-hit city, while Denver and Boston saw the biggest price increases.

NEW YORK ( -- National U.S. home prices fell a record 15.4% in the second quarter compared with last year, according to a report out Tuesday.

The latest S&P/Case-Shiller national home price index showed no signs that the pace of home-price declines is easing. The loss was even larger than the record 14.2% drop posted in the first three months of 2008.

Both the Case-Shiller 10-city and 20-city indexes also posted record year over year losses in the second quarter, down 17% and 15.9% respectively.

A small piece of good news: In June the pace of monthly declines slowed ever so slightly compared with May. Prices for the 10-city index declined 16.9% year-over-year and the 20-city index was down 15.8%.

"While there is no national turnaround in residential real estate prices, it is possible that we are seeing some regions struggling to come back, which has resulted in some moderation in price declines at the national level" says David Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at Standard & Poor's, in a statement.

Still, all 20 cities covered by Case-Shiller are in negative territory for the past 12 months, pointed out Mike Larson, a real estate analyst with Weiss Research. "[The moderation] is not good news," he said. "It's just a little less bad."

And with mortgage loans difficult for many home buyers to obtain and foreclosure rates still rising, inventories of homes for sale continue to expand, depressing home prices. There is now an 11.2 month supply of existing homes on the market at the present rate of sales.

"The inventory problem has not been solved," said Larson.

The worst performing city in the index was Las Vegas, where prices plunged 28.6% year-over-year, followed by Miami, down 28.3%, and Phoenix, down 27.9%.

In June, Phoenix prices dropped 2.6% from May, the largest decline of any city in the index.

Denver and Boston were winners for the month, with home prices climbing 1.5% and 1.2%, respectively. Both of these markets have had three consecutive months of higher prices. Charlotte and Dallas, both up 1%, have recorded four straight months of gains. To top of page