Report: U.S. Home Values Decline 18% Annually

Continued pressure on an already troubled market caused annual price declines recorded in October to surpass the previous month’s data, according to a statement released Tuesday by Standard & Poor’s. According to the S&P/Case-Shiller home prices indices through October 2008, the 10-city index composite registered an annual decline of 19.1 percent, accelerated from the 17.4 percent reported for September. Prices across the 20-city composite also fell, averaging an 18 percent decline nationwide. Of the 20 metropolitan areas Standard & Poor’s studies, 14 showed record rates of annual decline. “The bear market continues; home prices are back to their March 2004 levels,” said David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at Standard & Poor’s. The data also shows the 10-city composite down 25 percent from its peak in mid-2006, while the 20-city composite registered 23.4 percent down from its peak. “In October, we also saw three new markets enter the ‘double-digit’ club,” Blitzer said. “Atlanta, Seattle and Portland are reporting annual rates of decline of 10.5 percent, 10.2 percent and 10.1 percent, respectively. Home values have slipped on average more than 30 percent from October 2007 in three metro areas — Phoenix remains the weakest market with an annual decline of 32.7 percent, followed by Las Vegas with a 31.7 percent decline, while San Francisco trailed close behind at a 31 percent decline. Miami, Los Angeles, and San Diego took the next three biggest loser slots with -29 percent, -27.9 percent and -26.7 percent, respectively. “Monthly data also do not show much improvement in the national housing market,” Standard & Poor’s said in a statement.  All 20 cities studied, along with the two composites, posted second consecutive monthly declines.  Six of the metros — Atlanta, Charlotte, Detroit, Minneapolis, Tampa and Washington — had their largest monthly decline on record, according to the data. “Most of the positive monthly data recorded in the spring and summer months merely reflects seasonal patterns in home prices, as opposed to a turnaround in the downward spiral in national home prices,” Standard & Poor’s reported. There was a bit of a bright spot on an otherwise bleak portrait of nationwide home values. The Dallas and Charlotte metros faired the best in October as far as year-over-year returns. Although registering in negative territory, their declines remained in low single digits of -3.0 percent and -4.4 percent, respectively. Standard & Poor’s analysts pointed out that both values were still worse than those reported in the September data. Cleveland and Denver were the only markets that showed improvement in annual returns compared to last month’s report, according to the data. Read the report. Write to Diana Golobay at

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