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Homes Prices Mark Record Decline

Written By Brian Hicks

Posted November 27, 2007

In the offices of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), where the shoes of the desperate David Lereah have been filled by the equally laughable Lawrence Yun, the spin still runs full throttle.

There has never been a better time to buy a house, they say.

But as the actual figures continue roll in, they tell a different story altogether. Prices it turns out are not just falling but accelerating to the downside.

That deafening silence you hear is from the housing bulls.

Last I heard they were holding their meetings in a phone booth outside of a Toledo diner.

From the AP: S&P: 3Q Home Prices Fall by 4.5 Percent

"U.S. home prices fell 4.5 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier, the sharpest drop since Standard & Poor’s began its nationwide housing index in 1987 and another sign that the housing slump is far from over, the research group said Tuesday.

The index also showed that prices fell 1.7 percent from the previous three-month period, the largest quarter-to-quarter decline in the index’s history.

The S&P/Case-Schiller quarterly index tracks prices of existing single-family homes across the nation compared with a year earlier.

A separate index that covers 20 U.S. metropolitan areas dropped 4.9 percent in September from a year earlier, with 15 metro areas posting declines. Only five metro areas — Atlanta, Charlotte, N.C., Dallas, Portland, Ore., and Seattle — showed an increase in prices, but S&P noted that the pace of the rise is decelerating.

Tampa and Miami led the index with the lowest year-over-year declines at 11.1 percent and 10 percent, respectively. It also showed drops in San Diego of 9.6 percent; Detroit, 9.6 percent; Las Vegas, 9 percent; Phoenix, 8.8 percent; and Los Angeles, 7 percent.

The S&P’s 10-area index decreased 5.5 percent in September from the previous year."

The Case/Shiller Index, of course, is widely believed to be the most accurate barometer of actual market conditions since it follows the re-sales of individual homes."  

"The declines in the national figure are notable for two reasons," said Robert Shiller, Chief Economist at MacroMarkets LLC in a press release. "First, the third quarter decline, at 1.7%, was the largest quarterly decline in the index’s 21-year history. And, second, the year-over-year decline posted its second consecutive record low at minus 4.5%."

Unfortunately, that’s still well short of Shiller’s ultimate prediction. He sees values falling as far as 50% in some areas.

Now if that doesn’t just make you want to run out today and buy one I don’t know what will.