Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Home prices slide to new record low in January; that represents greatest loss of wealth in nation

The factor that makes this recession different from others is the gigantic decline in home prices, and numbers released today show no end in sight for this record descent.

And without any sign of this descent ending, the economy cannot recover.

Houses represent the single greatest financial holding for any family. These kind of declines account for an incredible loss of wealth in society, and suburban places such as Williamson County are being hit hard. Forclosures are multiplying.

Western U.S. cities are being hit the hardest, along with Miami in the east. Atlanta showed a 14 percent drop, still precipitous.

The New York Times reports:

The decline in housing prices maintained its record-breaking descent in January, according to data released Tuesday.

Home Prices in Selected Cities Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller Home Price Index, a widely watched measure of 20 metropolitan areas, fell 19 percent in January from January 2008. That was slightly faster than it dropped in December.

The worst hit metropolitan areas have now fallen nearly in half. None of the cities showed month-to-month improvements. Thirteen showed record annual rates of decline.

“There’s no daylight that I can see in this report,” said David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S.&P.

Phoenix is down 48.5 percent from its June 2006 peak, with Las Vegas not far behind. Dallas was the city with the smallest decline from its peak, 10.8 percent.

The 20-city index fell to 146.40, its lowest point since September 2003. The peak was 206.52 in July 2006.

It may be spring on the calendar, but analysts said it would remain winter on housing prices for a long time.

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