The lastest S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index numbers suggest, every so slightly, that the worse of the housing slump may be behind us.
The two indices, which include 20 cities and 30 cities, were both down 18% year-over-year in February. That was a slight improvement over January when both set new record, being down 19%. This was the first time in 16 months that the indices failed to post new record declines.
Overall the data shows home prices are back to their 2003 levels. Phoenix, Las Vegas and San Francisco remain the hardest hit. Dallas, Denver and Boston are holding up the best, although all were still down.
The Booby Prize winner? Phoenix, which has seen its average home price fall 50% since the peak in June 2006.
BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.