Case-Shiller: NY home prices improving

By Candace Taylor | September 29, 2009 12:54PM

New York metropolitan area home prices have improved, but still haven’t seen the solid increases of some other markets around the country, according to S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index July data released today.

Home sale prices within a 50-mile radius of New York City declined at a slower pace than previous months, according to the index, which gauges values in 20 major U.S. cities. New York-area prices fell 10.3 percent in July from the same month last year, compared to a year-over-year drop of 11.9 percent in June, and 12.2 percent in May.

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.

New York was one of 13 metropolitan areas showing at least three straight months of price gains, the data shows. New York-area prices inched up 0.8 percent between June and July, and 0.7 percent between May and June after having increased slightly between April and May. Before that, prices had been falling, including a record decline of 2.5 percent between February and March.

New York’s progress “is encouraging,” but the area is still impacted by this fall’s crisis on Wall Street, David Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at Standard & Poor’s, told The Real Deal.

“Because it’s heavily dependent on financial services, there are still some lingering questions,” Blitzer said.

New York’s index of 173.66 is up a modest 1.8 percent from its low point of 170.50 in April, but down significantly from the peak index value of 215.83 in June of 2006. The index was set at a base value of 100 in January 2000, meaning that homes in the New York metropolitan area have appreciated 73.66 percent since then.

That represents an improvement, but some other markets “have had much more pronounced turnarounds,” Blitzer said.

Washington, for example, is up 6 percent from its lowest point, and San Francisco and Minneapolis are each up 9 percent, he said.

Nationwide, home prices are still declining but at a slower pace than the previous month, marking approximately six months of improvement.

The 10-city and 20-city composites declined 12.8 percent and 13.3 percent respectively in July compared to the same month last year. All 20 metro areas measured by the index showed improvement in the annual rates of decline, and only two areas — Las Vegas and Seattle — showed month-on-month drops.