A home-price index that tracks 20 U.S. metropolitan areas measured the 17th consecutive period of annual decline in April, according to a report released today.

The monthly Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-City Composite index has been in negative territory since January 2007 when compared to index results in 2006. And the 10-city index experienced an annual decline of 2.7 percent in April, the largest decline since late 1991 for that index, according to the report.

The indices are designed to track the price path of typical singe-family homes in each of the tracked metro areas, and each index combines matched price pairs for thousands of individual homes that were sold at fair market value.

Fourteen of 20 metro areas in the 20-city index had year-over-year price declines in April, the report states. The most extreme price index drops were reported in Detroit, down 9.3 percent; followed by San Diego, down 6.7 percent; and Washington, D.C., down 5.7 percent.

The metro areas with the largest year-over-year price increases in April were Seattle, at 9.6 percent; Charlotte, N.C., at 7 percent; and Portland, Ore., at 6.4 percent.

Other markets tracked in the 20-city index include: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, Phoenix, San Francisco and Tampa.

“A review of the decline in home-price returns on a regional level shows no region is immune to the weakening price returns,” said Robert J. Shiller, chief economist at MacroMarkets LLC, in a statement. MacroMarkets has some licensing and sublicensing rights to the indices.

“While regional economic fundamentals may be keeping cities like Portland, Seattle and Charlotte in positive territory, they have not curbed their diminishing returns,” Shiller stated. “For example, Seattle reported annual returns of 9.6 percent this month compared to the 17.8 percent reported for April last year. In addition, Miami has crossed into negative territory this month, with a 1 percent annual decline. “

Atlanta, Boston, Dallas and Denver experienced both monthly price increases and some “modest strengthening” in the annual rate of return in April, according to the report.

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are published at 9 a.m. ET on the last Tuesday of each month.


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