Interest Rate Roundup

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

S&P/Case-Shiller index for October -- prices down 6.1% YOY

Good morning and welcome to that wonderful post-Christmas, pre-New Year's period where we all wish we were anywhere but work (and many of you probably are!) For those of you stuck behind a desk, however, your loyal blogger plans to be around covering the latest news. Speaking of which, the S&P/Case-Shiller figures for October were just released ... and they don't look so hot:

* The 20-city index showed prices falling 1.4% between September and October. Prices were down 6.1% from a year ago, the biggest year-over-year drop on record (the data goes back to 2001; chart above).

* The 10-city index has a longer history. It declined 6.7% from a year ago -- the worst since S&P started tracking in the late 1980s (the previous record drop was 6.3% in April 1991).

* Prices fell from year-ago levels in 17 out of 20 cities, worse than last month, when 15 metros showed a decline. Miami was the worst off (-12.4%), followed by Tampa (-11.8%), Detroit (-11.2%) and San Diego (-11.1%). The best performing cities were Charlotte (+4.3%) and Seattle (+3.3%).

The housing market slump continues to drag on, with sales activity muted and home values falling. Tighter mortgage lending standards, falling consumer confidence, and a sharp drop in speculative purchases have all taken bites out of buyer demand, forcing sellers to adjust by cutting prices. That's reflected in the S&P/Case-Shiller figures, and there's no reason to expect an imminent turnaround. In fact, I expect home pries to continue to drift lower in 2008 -- by the mid single-digits nationally, with select markets faring worse.


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