Only two major metropolitan areas — San Diego and Washington D.C. — reported positive year-over-year home price gains in the latest Standard & Poor’s S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price report for January. In fact, average home prices across the U.S. fell back to summer of 2003 levels. Even in the markets with positive gains, San Diego was up only a slight 0.1%, while Washington D.C. performed the best by recording a 3.6% home price growth rate in January. Eleven cities that posted index level home price lows in December experienced further drops in January. Overall, U.S. home prices for the month of January fell 3.1% from year-ago levels, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller composite 20-city home price index — a barometer for national home prices. Meanwhile, the 10-city composite index fell 2% year-over-year in January. “These data confirm what we have seen with recent housing starts and sales reports. The housing market recession is not yet over, and none of the statistics are indicating any form of sustained recovery,” said David Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at Standard & Poor’s. “At most, we have seen all statistics bounce along their troughs; at worst, the feared double-dip recession may be materializing. A few months ago we defined a double-dip for home prices as seeing the 10- and 20-City Composites set new post-peak lows.” The report added that San Diego and Washington D.C. are the only two metros to have their annual rates remain positive throughout 2010. “Every other MSA has either moved back into or has always been in negative territory,” the S&P/Case-Shiller report concluded. Write to Kerri Panchuk.
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