Data through April 2011, released by S&P Indices for its S&P/CaseShiller Home Price Index, shows a monthly increase in prices for the 10- and 20-City Composites for the first time in eight months. The 10- and 20-City Composites were up 0.8 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively, in April versus March. Both indices are lower than a year ago; the 10-City Composite fell 3.1 percent and the 20-City Composite is down four percent from April 2010 levels. Six of the 20 MSAs showed new index lows in April—Charlotte, Chicago, Detroit, Las Vegas, Miami and Tampa.
Thirteen of the cities and both composites posted positive monthly changes. With index levels of 152.51 and 138.84, respectively, both the 10- and 20-City Composites are above their March 2011 levels, which had been a new crisis low for the 20-City Composite.
The chart above depicts the annual returns of the 10-City and the 20-City Composite Home Price Indices. In April 2011, the 10-City and 20-City Composites recorded annual returns of -3.1 percent and -4 percent, respectively. On a month-over-month basis, the 10- and 20-City Composites were up 0.8 percent and 0.7 percent in April versus March.
“In a welcome shift from recent months, this month is better than last—April’s numbers beat March,” said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Indices. “However, the seasonally adjusted numbers show that much of the improvement reflects the beginning of the Spring-Summer homebuying season. It is much too early to tell if this is a turning point or simply due to some warmer weather."
The chart above shows the index levels for the 10-City and 20-City Composite Indices. As of April 2011, average home prices across the United States are back to the levels where they were in the summer of 2003. Measured from their peaks in June/July 2006 through April 2011, the peak-to-current declines for the 10-City Composite and 20-City Composite are—32.6 percent and -32.8 percent, respectively. From their April 2009 troughs, the 10-City Composite has risen 1.4 percent and the 20-City Composite is up only 0.7 percent. As of April 2011, 19 of the 20 MSAs and both Composites are down compared to April 2010.
Washington, D.C. continues to be the only market to post a year-over-year gain, at +4.0 percent. Minneapolis was the only city that demonstrated a double-digit annual decline at -11.1 percent. While 13 markets rose on a monthly basis, 16 markets saw their annual rates of change fall deeper into negative territory. From their 2006/2007 peaks, six MSAs posted new index level lows in April 2011, a modest improvement over March’s report when 12 MSAs reported new lows. Thirteen of the markets rose in April over March, with six of them increasing by more than one percent. Washington, D.C., once again, stands out with a +3.0 percent monthly increase and a +4.0 percent annual growth rate.
With respective index levels of 100.36 and 101.95, Phoenix and Atlanta are two markets that are close to losing any value gained since January 2000. As of April 2011, Cleveland, Detroit and Las Vegas are the three markets where average home prices are lower than where they were 11 years ago.