Case-Shiller index: Home prices virtually flat in August

Only Detroit, Washington, D.C., post annual increases among 20 markets


U.S. home prices stayed virtually flat in August compared to July and fell compared to a year ago, according to the latest Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices.

While Case-Shiller’s 20-City Composite saw its fifth monthly rise in August, the month’s increase was a slight one, at 0.2 percent. The index fell 3.8 percent compared to August 2010.

Half of the 20 metro areas tracked by the index saw month-to-month declines in August, most of them slight. Atlanta saw the biggest monthly index drop, down 2.4 percent, followed by Los Angeles (-0.4 percent).

Washington, D.C., posted the biggest monthly increase (1.6 percent), followed by Chicago and Detroit (1.4 percent each). On a yearly basis, only two metro areas saw increases: Detroit (2.7 percent) and Washington, D.C. (0.3 percent). Despite the increases, Detroit’s home prices remain at their 1995 levels, according to the report.

Minneapolis saw the biggest year-over-year drop (-8.5 percent), followed by Phoenix (-7.7 percent) and Portland, Ore. (-7.6 percent).

Sixteen of the 20 metros tracked saw their annual rates of change improve in August, which represents "a modest glimmer of hope" for the housing market, said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Indices, in a statement.

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"In spring and summer’s seasonally strong period for housing demand, we cautioned that monthly increases in prices had to be paired with improvement in annual rates before anyone could declare that the market might be stabilizing," Blitzer said.

As in July, Las Vegas once again posted a new index low in August, down 59.5 percent from its August 2006 peak. The 20-City Composite overall was down 30.8 percent from peak.

Metro area Index level (Aug. 2011) Change from July Change from a year ago
Atlanta 102.04 -2.4% -6.3%
Boston 155.59 -0.1% -1.7%
Charlotte 112.66 0.2% -3.4%
Chicago 119.4 1.4% -5.8%
Cleveland 101.84 0.3% -4.8%
Dallas 117.21 0.2% -1.9%
Denver 126.47 0.4% -1.6%
Detroit 73.41 1.4% 2.7%
Las Vegas 95.18 -0.3% -5.8%
Los Angeles 169.38 -0.4% -3.5%
Miami 140.75 -0.3% -4.6%
Minneapolis 115.62 0.4% -8.5%
New York 169.19 0.4% -3.4%
Phoenix 100.43 -0.1% -7.7%
Portland, Ore. 135.91 0.1% -7.6%
San Diego 154.91 -0.2% -5.5%
San Francisco 135.2 -0.1% -5.3%
Seattle 137.09 -0.3% -6.1%
Tampa 129.51 -0.1% -5.8%
Washington, D.C. 187.57 1.6% 0.3%
20-City Composite 142.84 0.2% -3.8%

Source: S&P Indices and Fiserv

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