The collapse in U.S. home prices that stoked the worst recession since the Great Depression wasn’t quite as severe as initially estimated, according to data from S&P/Case-Shiller.
Property values nationally fell 26 percent from the February 2007 peak to the December 2011 trough, not 34 percent as previously reported, revised data showed last week. The index will now be issued monthly rather than quarterly.
The change is the result of CoreLogic Inc. (CLGX)’s $6 million purchase of the S&P/Case-Shiller index from technology company Fiserv Inc. in March 2013. Case-Shiller has spent more than a year retrofitting its model with CoreLogic’s bigger, higher-quality data set, leading to a change in how the index looks.
Don’t read too much into that, said Case-Shiller principal economist David Stiff. The index only looks different because it’s been rebuilt with new, higher-quality data, he said.
In a crowded field of home-price data, Case-Shiller grabs the spotlight. Created in the early 1990s by Wellesley College Professor Emeritus Karl Case and Nobel Prize winner Robert Shiller, it’s known for its gauge of home values in 20 cities, which tracked the housing collapse in grim monthly installments.
Nationally, home values have climbed 19.4 percent since touching bottom almost three years ago, the new data show. They’re now 11.6 percent off the prior peak, compared with a previously estimated shortfall of 18.6 percent through the first quarter.
“They can say don’t read too much into it, but it is a different picture,” said Bank of America economist Michelle Meyer. “We don’t have as big of a hole to climb out of and the gains we’ve seen so far are that much more impressive.”