Data through February 2012, released today by S&P Indices for its S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, showed annual declines of 3.6% and
3.5% for the 10- and 20-City Composites, respectively. This is an improvement over the annual rates posted
for the month of January, -4.1% and -3.9%, respectively. In addition to the two Composites, 15 of the 20
MSAs posted better annual returns in February compared to January; Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland and
Detroit fared worse in February and Washington DC’s rate remained unchanged. Nine MSAs and both
Composites posted new cycle lows as of February 2012. Atlanta had the only double-digit negative annual
at -17.3%. This was the fifth consecutive month of double-digit negative returns for Atlanta and the lowest
annual return in its 20-year history.. Five of the 20 MSAs saw positive annual returns – Denver, Detroit,
Miami, Minneapolis and Phoenix. Phoenix, which is one of the cities that fared the worst during the crisis,
has now posted two consecutive months of positive annual returns and five consecutive positive monthly
returns. However, it is still down 54.2% from its peak.
The chart above depicts the annual returns of the 10-City and the 20-City Composite Home Price Indices.
In February 2012 both Composites fell by 0.8% over the month, resulting in annual returns of -3.6% and
“While there might be pieces of good news in this report, such as some improvement in many annual rates
of return, February 2012 data confirm that, broadly-speaking, home prices continued to decline in the early
months of the year,” says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Indices. “Nine
MSAs -- Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Las Vegas, New York, Portland, Seattle and Tampa -- and
both Composites hit new post-crisis lows. Atlanta continued its downward spiral, posting its lowest annual
rate of decline in the 20-year history of the index at -17.3%. The 10-City Composite declined 3.6% and the
20-City was down 3.5% compared to February 2011.
“Due to delays in reporting for Mecklenburg County, we did not publish a January index level for Charlotte,
North Carolina last month. With this month’s report we have enough data to publish data points for both
January and February. The unfortunate news is that it confirms that Charlotte is one of the cities that is still
reaching new lows.
“Phoenix and Atlanta stand out this month in terms of their contrasting relative strength and weakness in the
early 2012 housing market. At one end of the spectrum, we have Atlanta posting a double-digit, and lowest
on record, annual rate at -17.3%. Atlanta has now recorded five consecutive months of double-digit
negative annual rates and seven consecutive monthly declines. On the other hand, Phoenix has posted two
consecutive months of positive annual rates, with its latest being +3.3%, and five consecutive positive
The chart above shows the index levels for the 10-City and 20-City Composite Indices. As of February
2012, average home prices across the United States are back to the levels where they were in late 2002 for
the 20-City Composite and to early 2003 levels for the 10-City Composite. Measured from their June/July
2006 peaks through February 2012, the decline for both Composite is approximately 35%. February’s
levels are new lows for both Composites in the current housing cycle.
In February 2012, Miami, Phoenix, San Diego were the only MSAs to record positive monthly returns of
+0.6%, +1.2% and +0.2%, respectively; Dallas was flat. In terms of both annual and monthly returns,
Phoenix stood out as possibly turning around, with a +3.3% annual rate of change and a monthly return of
+1.2%. Alternately, Atlanta fared poorly with a historically low -17.3% annual return and a 2.5% monthly
decline. Nine MSAs -- Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Las Vegas, New York, Portland, Seattle
and Tampa -- and both Composites posted new index lows in February 2012. These were the same cities
that posted index lows last month. Atlanta, Cleveland, Detroit and Las Vegas continue to have average
home prices below their January 2000 levels.
The table below summarizes the results for February 2012. The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are
revised for the 24 prior months, based on the receipt of additional source data. More than 25 years of
history for these data series is available, and can be accessed in full by going to
Since its launch in early 2006, the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices have published, and the markets have followed and reported on, the non-seasonally adjusted data set used in the headline indices. For analytical purposes, S&P Indices publishes a seasonally adjusted data set covered in the headline indices, as well as for the 17 of 20 markets with tiered price indices and the five condo markets that are tracked.
A summary of the monthly changes using the seasonally adjusted (SA) and non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) data can be found in the table below.
About S&P Indices
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