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The Case-Shiller Index for March was released today – quotes from David Blitzer:

This month’s report is marked by the confirmation of a double-dip in home prices across much of the nation,” David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Indices, said in a statement. “Home prices continue on their downward spiral with no relief in sight.” 

While the overall numbers in the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices for March are down and disappointing, the pattern is not uniform.  A few cities — Washington DC and two in California — San Francisco and San Diego — remain above their recent lows. At the other end of the scale, Detroit is about 30% below its level of January, 2000.

“What we’ve seen over the last few months despite the decline in prices is we’ve gone back to the old ‘location, location, location’ story instead of everything going down at once,” Blitzer said. “California has clearly broken out of the pattern it was in, which is a big plus.”

Though there had been hopes in the industry that prices were troughing and ready to turn higher, the latest trends show little hope in sight until later this year or early in 2012, he added.

“Everybody’s now keeping their fingers crossed for 2012 and wondering whether people just don’t want to own homes anymore,” he said.

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The official month-over-month reading for San Diego is -0.8 (March/February), which is better than the previous -1.3 (February/January). 

Here are the peak-to-trough-to-now numbers:

Peak: 250.34

Trough: 144.43 in April 2009 (-42.4% from peak)

Latest: 153.88 in March 2011 (-38.5% from peak)

How accurately does the Case-Shiller Index reflect reality?  They don’t count any repeat sales within six months, so flippers are excluded for the most part, and they weight the rest.  Here’s a summary of the index here, which notes how it can direct consumer mood and behavior.

But the C-S Index does make for great sound bites, which apparently is all we have time to digest.

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For those interested in the North SD County Coastal region, here is the comparison of May SFR sales:

Month # of Sales Avg $/sf Median SP Average SP
May 2010
249
$388
$800,000 $1,020,496
May 2011
197
$389
$882,000 $1,177,004

We still have today’s sales to add, plus the usual 10% for late-reporters, so we should be close to last May’s number of sales too.

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