A double dip in home prices is almost here, with home values down from a year ago in 16 out of 20 metro areas tracked by a Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller Home Price Index.

The S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Index — which showed annual home-price appreciation of 4.6 percent in May — re-entered negative territory in October, registering a 0.8 percent annual price decline.

Although the 20-city composite is still above its spring 2009 low, the index showed prices falling from September to October in all 20 metro areas tracked.

Six markets hit new lows for the current downturn: Atlanta, Charlotte, Miami, Portland (Ore.), Seattle and Tampa.

Only four out of 20 metro areas were still registering annual price gains: Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

Although a separate 10-City Composite Index posted a 0.2 percent annual growth rate in October, it too looked to be headed for negative territory after posting 5.4 percent appreciation in May.

"There is no good news in October’s report," said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at Standard & Poor’s, in a statement. "Home prices across the country continue to fall."

Fifteen of the metro areas tracked by the 20-city composite have posted three consecutive months of declines, a further sign that the few months of "positive print" in the spring were only a temporary boost, Blitzer said, spurred in part by homebuyer tax credits.

Metro area

September-October change

One-year change

























Las Vegas



Los Angeles









New York









San Diego



San Francisco









Washington, D.C.









Source: Standard & Poor’s and Fiserv

"Existing’homes sales and housing starts have been reported for both October and November, and neither is giving any sense of optimism," Blitzer said. "On a year-over-year basis, sales are down more than 25 percent, and the months’ supply of unsold homes is about 50 percent above where it was during the same months of last year."

The latest S&P/Case-Shiller National Home Price Index, published Nov. 30, showed a 1.5 percent annual decline in national home prices at the end of the third quarter.

Analysts at Altos Research recently projected that national home prices will hit bottom next year, but not before falling another 5 to 10 percent.

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