From the AP:
A widely watched index released Tuesday showed home prices dropping by the sharpest rate ever in the second quarter, but the data for June suggest the severity of the housing slump may be waning.
The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index tumbled a record 15.4 percent during the quarter from the same period a year ago.
The monthly indices also clocked in record declines. The 20-city index fell by 15.9 percent in June compared with a year ago, the largest drop since its inception in 2000. The 10-city index plunged 17 percent, its biggest decline in its 21-year history.
However, the rate of single-family home price declines slowed from May to June, a possible silver lining, the index creators said.
“While there is no national turnaround in residential real estate prices, it is possible that we are seeing some regions struggling to come back, which has resulted in some moderation in price declines at the national level” said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P.
From the Record:
Home prices dropped 7.3 percent in the New York metropolitan area, which includes North Jersey, from June 2007 to June 2008, the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller index reported today.
While that was a significant drop, it was less than half the decline seen nationwide. And some analysts saw signs that the market may be reaching a bottom
“Not one market is showing a positive return over the past 12 months,” said David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at Standard & Poor’s.
But Patrick O’Keefe, former head of the New Jersey Builders Association, said there are signs that the market may be bottoming out in New Jersey and the Northeast as a whole. For one thing, Case-Shiller reported that prices in the New York metropolitan area inched up 0.2 percent from May to June of this year, the first time in almost two years that they haven’t dropped month over month.
“It would be premature to conclude that a rebound is underway,” said O’Keefe, now a director with J.H. Cohn, a Roseland accounting firm. He said housing sales and prices in the region will likely remain flat into 2009.
U.S. house prices declined at a slower pace for the fourth straight month in June, signaling that the worst housing slump in more than 25 years may be starting to stabilize.
Home prices in 20 U.S. metropolitan areas fell 0.5 percent from the previous month, with nine areas reporting a gain compared with seven in May, the S&P/Case-Shiller index showed. Prices were down 15.9 percent from the previous month, less than economists had forecast.
The figures add evidence that the drag on the economy from the housing slump is lessening, while officials and analysts predict that a rebound remains at least a year away. A private report yesterday showed that sales of existing homes in the past three months averaged the same rate as the previous period.
S&P/Case Shiller also released quarterly figures for nationwide home prices. That measure showed a 2.3 percent drop in the three months through June from the previous three months, compared with a 6.8 percent decline in the first quarter.
Unlike half the metro areas in the 20-city index, the New York metro region did not see double-digit declines from a year ago but fell 7.3 percent, data show. Prices did see a 0.2 percent uptick from May to June for the metropolitan area, which also covers Long Island, parts of Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, according to the Case-Shiller report.