Case-Shiller Report Bleak

From the Wall Street Journal to Bloomberg, David Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Indices, didn’t have positive news to report upon publishing the December S&P Case-Shiller report.
* “In terms of prices, the housing market ended 2011 on a very disappointing note.”
* “With this month’s report we saw all three composites hit new record lows.”
* “If anything, it looks like we might have re-entered a period of decline as we begin 2012.”

Housing Market Ups & Downs
Housing Market Ups & Downs

So just how bad were the December Case-Shiller Home Price Indices numbers?
* The U.S. National Index and the 20-City Composite were down 4% December 2011 vs. December 2010
* The 10-City Composite was down 3.9% December 2011 vs. December 2010
* Atlanta, Las Vegas, Seattle and Tampa each saw average home prices hit new lows
* Atlanta, Cleveland, Detroit and Las Vegas have average home prices below their January 2000 levels
* The National Composite is down 33.8% from its 2nd quarter 2006 peak
* Seventeen cities of the 20-City Composite have seen monthly declines for at least 3 consecutive months

Case-Shiller Home Price Indices December 2011
Case-Shiller Home Price Indices December 2011

What’s the main culprit? While anything this dismal is usually a combination of multiple factors, the one factor that is over-riding everything from the macro perspective is the excess supply of distressed properties that is dragging down the values for all houses. According to RealtyTrac Inc. about 5 million houses have been lost to foreclosure in the U.S. since 2006, and their prediction is that banks may seize more than 1 million homes this year after legal scrutiny regarding foreclosure practices stalled actions against delinquent homeowners in 2011.

So is there a bright note to end on? Yes and here it is – last week the National Association of Realtors reported that sales of previously owned homes in the U.S. rose in January to the highest level in almost two years. January existing home sales increased 4.3% January vs. December. In addition, the inventory level of unsold homes decreased to a point economists consider “healthy”.

One final bright note, because let’s face it, the Case-Shiller December report is a downer – as reported in the Huffington Post,  The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index rose dramatically in February (70.8) as compared to January (61.5). While consumer confidence is still far below the 90 mark that indicates a healthy economy, it’s moving in the right direction – and we need optimistic consumers  to help get the real estate market moving in the right direction as well.

—For more information on buying real estate or questions regarding Steamboat Springs real estate  in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, feel free to call Charlie at 970-846-6435 or write me an email at: