Case Shiller Home Prices Index Slips for 3rd Straight Month in December

By Mark Lieberman

Managing Director and Senior Economist

Highlights:

  • Case Shiller Core Logic 20-city price index FELL in December for the third consecutive month to its lowest level since last May, down 0.23 percent to 212.96;
  • The national index also DROPPED for the third month in a row shedding 0.14 percent to 205.35, the weakest since July;
  • The 10-city index SLIPPED for the second  straight month, off 0.23 to 226.61, the lowest level since June;
  • While all three indices showed year-year growth in December, the annual increase was less than it had been in November;
  • Indices improved month-month in December in just five of the 20 cities surveyed, down from eight cities which saw month-month price improvement in November’

Trends:

  • The month-month price declines in all three indices were the steepest since November 2014;
  • All three indices remain above their previous peaks in summer 2006.

Data Source: S&P Case Schiller/Core Logic

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The housing sector continued to slump in December as home values dipped again, the third straight month-month decline, according to the Case Shiller Core Logic Home Price Index.

The slip in prices has both good and bad news elements. For would-be buyers to be sure the lower prices may attract more traffic but for empty-nester sellers, the lower values could disrupt retirement plans.

The biggest question mark though is whether the price drops presage a repeat of the 2008 housing/mortgage crisis aka the Great Recession which was fueled by a combination of housing price declines which exacerbated poor lending practices.

In advance of the housing debacle, the Case Shiller home price index (it didn’t include Core Logic then) fell for 34 straight months. And overall values fell by as much as 33 percent.

The value decline in the Case Shiller report came in the same month in which the National Association of Realtors reported the median price of an existing single family home fell 1.0 percent.

What’s likely at work here is the year-old tax act which reduced the tax advantage that came with home ownership by capping both the mortgage interest and local property tax deductions.

Home values fell 1.4 percent month-month in San Francisco followed by Chicago and San Diego where home values dropped 0.7 percent, according to the Case Shiller Core Logic report. Regionally, values fell 0.5 percent in Midwestern cities, 0.4 percent in Western cities and 0.2 percent in cities in the Northeast. Values were flat in cities in the South.

Only Las Vegas and New York (0.2 percent apiece), Atlanta, Miami and Phoenix (0.1 percent each) showed price increases in December.

Hear Mark Lieberman this Friday on P.O.T.U.S. radio’s Morning Briefing, Sirius-XM 124, at 6:20 am Eastern Time. You can follow Mark Lieberman on Twitter at @foxeconomics.

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