Home Prices in 20 U.S. Cities Tumbled 18.5% in December, Biggest Drop Ever

Discussion in 'Wall St. News' started by ByLoSellHi, Feb 24, 2009.

  1. Home Prices in 20 U.S. Cities Tumbled 18.5% in December, Biggest Drop Ever

    By Timothy R. Homan and Courtney Schlisserman


    Feb. 24 (Bloomberg) --
    Home prices in 20 U.S. cities declined 18.5 percent in December from a year earlier, the fastest drop on record, as foreclosures climbed and sales sank.

    The decrease in the S&P/Case-Shiller index was more than forecast and followed an 18.2 percent drop in November. The gauge has fallen every month since January 2007, and year-over-year records began in 2001. Separately, the Federal Housing Finance Board said prices in 2008 fell a record 8.2 percent.

    Record foreclosures are contributing to declining property values and household wealth, crippling the consumer spending that makes up about 70 percent of the economy. The Obama administration has pledged to spend $275 billion to help stabilize the housing market, including $75 billion to bring down mortgage rates and encourage loan modifications.

    “The massive inventory overhang in the market and the surge in foreclosures mean prices will continue to fall rapidly,” Ian Shepherdson, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics in Valhalla, New York, said today in a note to clients. “The administration’s rescue plan will, in time, slow the rate of decline, but it won’t happen immediately.”

    Economists forecast the 20-city index would fall 18.3 percent from a year earlier, according to the median of 28 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. Projections ranged from declines of 17.4 percent to 19 percent.

    Quarterly Figures

    Compared with a year earlier, all areas in the 20-city survey showed a decrease in prices in December, led by a 34 percent drop in Phoenix, a 33 percent slide in Las Vegas and a 31 percent decline in San Francisco.

    S&P/Case-Shiller also released quarterly figures for home prices nationally. That measure showed an 18.2 percent drop in the three months through December from the same period in 2007, compared with a 16.6 percent year-over-year decline in last year’s third quarter.

    “The broad downturn in the residential real-estate market continues,” David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P, said in a statement. “There are very few, if any, pockets of turnaround that one can see in the data.”

    The Washington-based housing finance board said its fourth- quarter figure was 3.4 percent lower than the prior quarter, on a seasonally adjusted basis, the largest three-month decline on record. Prices fell as banks seized real estate from delinquent borrowers.

    Consumer Confidence

    Confidence among U.S. consumers plunged to a record low this month, signaling spending will slump further as unemployment soars. The Conference Board’s index declined more than forecast to 25 this month, the lowest level since data began in 1967, from a January reading of 37.4, the New York-based research group said today.

    Robert Shiller, chief economist at MacroMarkets LLC and a professor at Yale University, and Karl Case, an economics professor at Wellesley College, created the home-price index based on research from the 1980s.

    The 20-city index is down 27 percent from its 2006 peak.

    Home prices decreased 2.5 percent in December from the prior month, exceeding the November decrease of 2.3 percent, the report showed. The figures aren’t adjusted for seasonal effects so economists prefer to focus on year-over-year changes instead of month-to-month. Phoenix and Las Vegas also showed the biggest one-month declines.

    Housing Starts

    Other housing reports have shown the four-year slump is likely to continue. Homebuilders broke ground on the fewest houses on record in January, the Commerce Department said last week. Declining construction has hurt economic growth for the last three years and is likely to weigh further in the first quarter of 2009.

    The glut of unsold homes is forcing builders to cut back on construction. Toll Brothers Inc., the largest U.S. luxury homebuilder, this month said its first-quarter revenue plunged 51 percent.

    “The past five months have been among the most difficult in U.S. economic history,” Toll Brothers Chief Executive Officer Robert Toll said on a conference call Feb. 11. Homebuyers are worried they may lose their jobs and won’t be able to sell their existing homes, he said.

    Foreclosure filings in the U.S. soared 81 percent last year to 2.3 million, the highest on record, according to RealtyTrac Inc., an Irvine, California-based seller of default data. The group said in a Feb. 12 statement that foreclosures rose 18 percent in January from a year earlier.

    Obama last week also signed into law a $787 billion stimulus package that includes tax breaks and increases in government spending designed to stem what a survey of business economists showed may be the longest recession in more than three decades.

    To contact the reporter on this story: Timothy R. Homan in Washington at thoman1@bloomberg.net; Courtney Schlisserman in Washington Cschlisserma@bloomberg.net
  2. Yeah, and we're still in the hope/denial stage...
  3. market surging

    no one cares n00b
  4. :eek:
  5. Yes, I have noticed the surge down as well stockie.

    You are a clever guy, so when do you think DOW will crack 5,000.
    Are you in for next month or do you think that the optimistic fools will slow it down to say april or even slightly beyond.

    Misplaced optimism can really slow down progress don't you think.

    I can imagine anyone who actually position trades the long side will be keen to see a major bottom put into place on the DOW sooner rather than later.

  6. Still no one cares about the housing. The vast majority of home owners aren't going to default. In many ares home prices are stable or still rising. Home prices contributes to the wealth affect, which is insignificant.
  7. Perfect time for those who are liquid. Fact of the matter is, this is the greatest time ever, in the history of the US to pick up property.

    Of course 90% of the people where sheeple and are caught in the "slaughter house".

    Nevertheless, My loft has appreciated, but so have my property taxes. Go figuer right. San Antonio is stable and most of Texas is stable, other pockets are stable. Right now, picking up property in FL and NV are great.

    Welcome to OBAMA NATION, the rich will get richer, the poor will stay poor and those middle class who could not manage risk, well they will become poor. Same with Companies.

    Sit back and enjoy the show....OBAMA NATION.
  8. >>>>>The 20-city index is down 27 percent from its 2006 peak.

    so, where is at? 2004?

    what a freaking tragedy!!!
  9. You have to work on your rhetoric. It should have been:

    "No one cares about housing, no one cares about consumer confidence, people still logging into facebook, people still logging into myspace."

    That would have been more convincing!
  10. kaciara