Housing Prices Decline Sharply During July

Housing prices in the United States plunged a record 16.3 percent during July, compared with the previous year.  According to Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller Home Price Indexes, this indicates an ongoing home-price decline now in its second year.

The S&P/Case-Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas declined 0.9 percent in July, when compared with June.  That represents a 19.5 percent decline since the housing boom peaked in July of 2006.  According to S&P, the composite index of 10 metropolitan areas fell 1.1 percent in July, representing a 17.5 percent year-over-year decline.  Compared with 2006, the index is down 21.1 percent.

“There are signs of a slowdown in the rate of decline across the metro areas, but no evidence of a bottom,” said David Blitzer, chairman of S&P’s index committee.  Economists see declining home prices -as a result of foreclosures – as one of the biggest threats to America’s financial system and economic growth.

Declines on Las Vegas – the nation’s weakest housing market – hit 29.9 percent compared with last year, and 34.3 percent when compared with its August of 2006 peak, according to S&P.  Yearly declines for Phoenix and Miami were 29.3 percent and 28.2 percent in July, respectively.