Home price declines across the country continued to show a moderating trend in July, according to the latest release of the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index. This marks approximately six months of improved readings in these statistics, beginning in early 2009 (see graph).
The annual rate of decline of Case-Shiller’s 10-City and 20-City Composite Indices improved over last month’s reading. On a month-to-month basis, both Composites, and 18 of the 20 metro areas in the Composites, increased in July over June. In addition, both Composites and 13 of the metro areas actually have had at least three consecutive months of such monthly increases.
These figures continue to indicate a stabilizing of home prices across the country. Looking ahead, however, caution is advised. We have yet to see the effect of anticipated higher unemployment rates, and a possible increase in foreclosures.
In July 2009, average home prices in most of the country had declined a little over 30% from their peak in the second quarter of 2006, returning them to levels not seen since the autumn of 2003.
Boston-area home prices have shown slight, monthly improvements since April, gaining 1.2% in July over June, 2.6% in June over May, 0.3% in May over April, and 0.3% in April over March. In July, they had declined a total of 15.3% since their peak in September 2005, for an average annual loss of 3.8%, returning them to where they stood in August 2003.