Home prices fall month-over-month and since last year

By Candace Taylor | December 30, 2008 02:34PM

Home prices in New York City have fallen 7.5 percent since last year and 0.9 percent month-over-month, according to S&P/Case-Shiller Homes Prices Index data released today.

New York City’s index value, which measures the average prices of single-family homes within a 50-mile radius of New York City, hit its peak in June 2006 and fell 11.9 percent by October, according to an analysis of October housing sales data.

That puts New York City “very much in the middle of the pack,” compared to other cities across the country, where home prices have dropped as much as 30 percent since last year, said Maureen Maitland, vice president of index services at Standard & Poor’s. Since the data does not include condo or co-op units, the report primarily reflects home prices in the outer boroughs, Connecticut, New Jersey and Westchester County. 

The sales prices of single-family homes across the country plummeted in value through October 2008, the most recent month for which data is available, with 14 of 20 metro areas measured by the report showing record rates of annual decline. Phoenix reported the largest annual decline with 32.7 percent, while Dallas fared the best, with a decline of 3 percent since October of 2007.

While some regions seem to be declining slower than others, none have shown a turnaround, Maitland said.

“Unfortunately, it’s not a very happy story,” she said. “A lot of people are looking for the beginning of the end, and it’s just didn’t happen this month.”

But for New York at least, there’s a silver lining. At 190.04, New York has the highest index value of any city measured by S&P, Maitland said, meaning that homes in New York have held their value better than other areas. The S&P/Case-Shiller indices were set at a value of 100 in January 2000, indicating that the typical single-family home in the New York metropolitan area has appreciated by 90 percent since then. Detroit, where average home prices are lower than they were in 2000, has the lowest index value, with 86.10.

New York is “still 90 percent above 2000 prices,” Maitland said, noting that a typical home in the New York area is still worth almost double what it was eight years ago. “[New York City homes have] been able to hang on to a lot of the appreciation that they saw.”

The comparatively high value of home prices in New York has to do with the strength of the local economy, she said, and the fact that limited space to build in New York has prevented the inventory overhang seen in Phoenix, Las Vegas and other Sunbelt areas.

But that may change now, with layoffs pending in the wake of the Wall Street meltdown.

“Is New York going to be able to hang on to [home price appreciation]?”she said. “That’s a question for the future of New York.”

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