Data through May 2011, released by S&P Indices for its S&P/CaseShiller Home Price Indices, a measure of U.S. home prices, showed a second consecutive month of increase in prices for the 10- and 20-City Composites. The 10- and 20-City Composites were up 1.1 percent and one percent, respectively, in May over April. Sixteen of the 20 Metropolitan Statistcal Areas (MSAs) and both Composites posted positive monthly increases; Detroit, Las Vegas and Tampa were down over the month and Phoenix was unchanged.
On an annual basis, Washington, D.C. was the only MSA with a positive rate of change, up 1.3 percent. The remaining 19 MSAs and the 10- and 20- City Composites were down in May 2011 versus the same month last year. Minneapolis fared the worst posting a double-digit decline of 11.7 percent.
The chart above depicts the annual returns of the 10-City and the 20-City Composite Home Price Indices. In May, the 10- and 20-City Composites recorded annual returns of -3.6 percent and -4.5 percent, respectively. Both Composites and 11 MSAs—Atlanta, Dallas, Detroit, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Phoenix, San Diego, Seattle and Tampa—saw their annual rates worsen in May compared to April.
“We see some seasonal improvements with May’s data,” said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Indices. “This is a seasonal period of stronger demand for houses, so monthly price increases are to be expected and were seen in 16 of the 20 cities. The exceptions where prices fell were Detroit, Las Vegas and Tampa. However, 19 of 20 cities saw prices drop over the last 12 months. The concern is that much of the monthly gains are only seasonal."
The chart below shows the index levels for the 10-City and 20-City Composite Indices. As of May 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 May 2011, the peak-to-current declines for the 10-City Composite and 20-City Composite are—32.1 percent and -32.3 percent, respectively. The peak-to-trough declines for the 10- and 20- City Composites are -33.5 percent and -33.3 percent, respectively. The 10-City Composite hit its crisis low in April 2009, whereas the 20-City reached a more recent low in March 2011.
As of May 2011, 16 of the 20 MSAs and both Composites posted positive monthly changes. Phoenix was flat. Detroit, Las Vegas and Tampa were the markets where levels fell in May versus April, with Detroit down by 2.8 percent and Las Vegas posting its eighth consecutive monthly decline. These three cities also posted new index level lows in May 2011. They are now 51.2 percent, 59.3 percent and 47.5 percent below their 2005-2006 peak levels, respectively.