Home Prices Show ‘Positive Signs’

Home Prices Show ‘Positive Signs’

Home prices declined 14.9 percent in the second quarter of 2009 compared to the same period of 2008, according to the latest S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index. But this is an improvement over the record decline of 19.1 percent reported in the first quarter this year. The index’s 10-city and 20-city composites recorded annual declines of 15.1 percent and 15.4 percent, respectively, which are improvements from their first-quarter losses of 19.4 percent and 19.1 percent. Both composites posted 1.4 percent increases from May to June, and 18 of the 20 metro areas saw improved monthly returns.

“For the second month in a row, we’re seeing some positive signs,” says David M. Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at Standard and Poor’s. The improving price data indicates that “there are hints of an upward turn from the bottom. However, some of the hardest hit cities, especially in the Sun Belt, show continued weakness.”

As of the end of the second quarter, average home prices across the United States were at a level similar to that recorded in early 2003. From their peak in the second quarter of 2006, average home prices are down 30.2 percent, the study finds.

Las Vegas, Phoenix and Detroit posted the largest quarterly declines of 32.4 percent, 31.6 percent and 25.0 percent, respectively. Dallas, Cleveland and Denver fared best, with respective annual declines of 2.2 percent 3.0 percent and 3.6 percent.

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