Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Home prices hit post-bust lows in most big cities

Home prices in a majority of major U.S. cities tracked by a private trade group have fallen to their lowest levels since the housing bubble burst. The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller index fell in December from November in all but one of the 20 cities it tracks. The 20-city index declined 1 percent.

The only market to see a gain was Washington, D.C. Along Utah’s Wasatch Front, according to a Jan. 27 report, the residential real estate market, mired in one of the worst downturns ever, is showing a few signs of improvement.

In Salt Lake County, 1,934 existing single-family homes were sold in the fourth quarter of 2010, down 21 percent compared with the fourth quarter of 2009, according to the Salt Lake Board of Realtors. The median selling price was $215,000, down 4.4 percent from the same three-month period in 2009 and off a peak of $256,000 in the summer of 2007. Salt Lake Tribune

Note: The Federal Housing Finance Agency also publishes the Housing Price Index for all Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs). The following chart shows the year-to-year change in the index for Utah MSAs. The most current index is for third quarter 2010. A bottom to housing prices according to this chart would occur when the year-to-year is equal to zero. At this point, the Logan, UT MSA is closest to a bottoming in prices, followed by the Ogden-Clearfield MSA. Not surprisingly, these two areas experienced the lowest level of speculation in the housing market. You can access this information at: