Home prices fell 19.1% in the first quarter compared to the previous year, the largest decline in the 21-year history of Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller Home Price Index series.
Case-Shiller’s 20-city index for March saw an 18.7% decline, including a 6.1% drop in Minneapolis, the largest monthly decline for any metro area in the history of the indices.
Paul Dales, U.S. economist for Capital Economics in Toronto, pointed out the massive home price gains from 2000 to 2006 have now vanished. Home prices have fallen back to 2002 levels in nominal terms, according to Case Shiller. But they’ve returned to 2000 levels when inflation is accounted for.
“We’ve had 6 years of massive appreciation wiped out in 3 years of sharp declines,” Dales said.
Home sales are improving, a sign that a bottom could be near. But home prices are likely to continue to fall for some time. Some cities have already overshot pre-boom price levels. Detroit, for example, is already at 1995 levels, even before inflation is accounted for.
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.