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Metro home price index down 0.7%

March 28, 2007|From Times Staff and the Associated Press

Prices of single-family homes across the nation depreciated in January compared with the same month last year, the worst results in more than 13 years, a housing index released Tuesday by Standard & Poor's showed.

The S&P/Case-Shiller composite index showed a drop of 0.7% from a year earlier in the price of a single-family home based on existing homes tracked over time in 10 metropolitan markets. In January 1994 the index dropped by 0.9%, compared with a year earlier, S&P said.

For its 20-city composite index, prices fell 0.2%. Those data have been collected since 2001.

On a year-over-year basis, 11 of the 20 cities in the S&P index showed negative annual returns in their prices. Among California cities tracked by the index, San Diego prices fell 4.2% while San Francisco posted a 1.4% decline. Los Angeles posted a 1% gain.

All cities in the survey, except for Charlotte, N.C., showed either flat or negative returns in January when compared with December. Los Angeles fell 0.5%, San Diego dropped 0.4% and San Francisco declined 0.2%.

MacroMarkets Chief Economist Robert Shiller said the composites clearly showed the dire state of the real estate market across the nation.

"The dismal growth in the 10-city composite is now at rates not seen since January 1994," Shiller said in a statement.

The downward trend is reflected in data across the nation. Certain cities such as San Diego, Detroit, Boston, Phoenix and Tampa, Fla., have done worse. Seattle and Portland, Ore., meanwhile, show some resistance to the downturn.

Federal Reserve governors watch housing as an indicator of the health of the overall economy. Economists fret that the slump in housing will drag down growth as the slowdown affects consumer spending and the construction industry.

Last Wednesday, Fed governors kept the benchmark interest rate at 5.25%, which means that the prime interest rate used by commercial banks will stay at 8.25%. It was the sixth meeting in a row at which the Fed has held interest rates steady.



All over the map

January index of home prices in 20 metropolitan areas

*--* Change since Dec. '06 Jan. '06 Seattle 0% +11.1% Portland, Ore. -0.3 +8.7 Charlotte, N.C. +0.4 +7.9 Miami -0.5 +4.2 Atlanta -0.3 +2.3 Chicago 0 +2.2 Los Angeles -0.5 +1.0 Dallas -0.8 +0.5 Las Vegas -0.5 0 Tampa, Fla. -0.9 -0.1 Phoenix -0.6 -0.7 Minneapolis -0.6 -0.9 New York -0.8 -0.9 Denver -0.9 -1.1 San Francisco -0.2 -1.4 Cleveland -0.7 -2.7 Washington -1.0 -3.9 San Diego -0.4 -4.2 Boston -1.2 -5.6 Detroit -1.3 -6.9


Source: Standard & Poor's

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