U.S. home prices reached a new low in the first quarter of 2011 in the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices after the National Index fell by 4.2% in the quarter, and 5.1% below the first quarter a year ago.

 

Following a 3.6% decline in the fourth quarter of 2010, home prices nationally have now fallen back to their mid-2002 levels.  This amounts to a new low for home prices in the index since the beginning of the recession. 

As of March 2011, 19 of the 20 MSA's monitored in the indices, including both monthly composites were down compared to March 2010, including 12 MSA's that posted new lows in March.  Only one city, Washington DC, posted a monthly (1.1%) and annual (4.3) increase in home prices.

“This month’s report is marked by the confirmation of a double-dip in home prices across much of the nation," said David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Indices.  “The rebound in prices seen in 2009 and 2010 was largely due to the first-time home buyers tax credit.  Excluding the results of that policy, there has been no recovery or even stabilization in home prices during or after the recent recession. Further, while last year saw signs of an economic recovery, the most recent data do not point to renewed gains."

The two composites, 10-city and 20 city, compiled by S&P/Case-Shiller Index, along with 11 MSA's, have posted eight consecutive months of negative month-over-month returns.