Today’s Index – Housing Prices Fell 3.9 Percent in 2011, Back to 2003 Levels: New York Shows Positive Returns, Mortgage Rates Remain Low

29 Nov

Home prices showed little change in the third quarter nationally, edging up 0.1 percent from the prior period, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index. Overall, home prices are back to their first quarter of 2003 levels.

Economists expected little change in the data through September from the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, a widely-used measure of U.S. home prices.

The national index posted an annual decline of 3.9 percent through the third quarter of 2011, an improvement over the 5.8 percent decline posted in the second quarter. Housing prices collapsed in most areas of the US following the financial crisis.

The annual rate of change in 14 of the 20 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) and both 10-city and 20-city composite indices improved versus August. Atlanta, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Tampa recorded lower annual declines in September compared to August. Detroit and Washington DC were the only two MSAs to show positive annual rates of +3.7 percent and +1 percent, respectively. Detroit has now recorded three consecutive months of positive annual rates.

In September, three cities, Atlanta, Las Vegas and Phoenix, posted new index lows.

Only New York, Portland and Washington DC showed positive monthly returns versus August.

Meanwhile mortgage rates continue to remain in their 60-year lows. Freddie Mac reported the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.98 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending Nov. 23, down from last week when it averaged 4 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.40 percent. The 15-year FRM averaged 3.30 percent with an average 0.7 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.31 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.77 percent.


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