Housing Prices Still Heading Down

Housing prices are an important indicator of future economic trends.  One reason is that houses represent one of the most important assets owned by households. 

Sadly, despite predictions of a housing recovery, housing prices are still heading downward, at least according to the well respected S&P Case-Shiller Index.   The most recent data, which takes the index through November, shows price declines of 1.3 percent for both the 10- and 20-City Composites in November over October.  The two Composites posted annual returns of -3.6% and -3.7% versus November 2010, respectively (see chart below).    


The following chart looks at actual home values rather than their yearly price change.   As of November 2011, average home prices across the United States were back to where they were in mid-2003.   Measured from their June/July 2006 peaks through November 2011, the peak-to-current decline for both the 10-City Composite and 20-City Composite was -32.9%.



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