Case-Shiller Chairman: Here’s Why the Housing Market Recession is Not Over

Welcome to 2003! The S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index 10-City Composite was down 2% and the 20-City Composite fell 3.1% in January on a year-over-year basis. On a monthly basis, the 10-City Composite was down 0.9% and the 20-City Composite fell 1.0% in January versus December 2010.

San Diego and Washington D.C. were the only two markets to record positive year-over-year changes. However, San Diego was up a scant 0.1%, while Washington DC posted a healthier +3.6% annual growth rate. The same 11 cities that had posted recent index level lows in December 2010, posted new lows in January.

David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at Standard & Poor’s commented:

“Keeping with the trends set in late 2010, January brings us weakening home prices with no real hope in sight for the near future. With this month’s data, we find the same 11 MSAs posting new recent index lows. The 10-City and 20-City Composites continue to decline month-over-month and have posted monthly declines for six consecutive months now.

These data confirm what we have seen with recent housing starts and sales reports. The housing market recession is not yet over, and none of the statistics are indicating any form of sustained recovery. At most, we have seen all statistics bounce along their troughs; at worst, the feared double-dip recession may be materializing. A few months ago we defined a double-dip for home prices as seeing the 10- and 20-City Composites set new post-peak lows. The 10-City Composite is still 2.8% above and the 20-City is 1.1% above their respective April 2009 lows, but both series have moved closer to a confirmed double-dip for six consecutive months. At this point we are not too far off, and that is what many analysts are seeing with sales, starts and inventory data too.

Looking across some of the markets, we see that with a January 2011 index level of 99.59, Atlanta has joined Cleveland, Detroit and Las Vegas as markets where average home prices are now below their January 2000 levels. Washington DC appears to be the only market that has weathered the recent storm. While it was up only 0.1% for the month of January, it’s annual rate was a relatively healthy +3.6%, it is still +10.7% above its March 2009 low, and ranks number one among the 20 markets as its average value is almost 85% above its January 2000 level.”

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Let’s see if the market can continue climbing the wall of worry despite the continued hit to real estate (NYSE:IYR).