The Real Deal Miami

Miami home prices drop 29 percent

By Candace Taylor | March 31, 2009 02:13PM

Miami continues to be among the hardest hit cities in the country’s ongoing real estate slump, according to S&P/Case-Shiller Homes Prices Index data released today.

The Miami area home price index, a measure of the average prices of single-family homes in the area, dropped 29.4 percent in January from the same month last year and 2.7 percent from the previous month, according to the closely watched report.

Meanwhile, the Case-Shiller composite index of 20 areas around the U.S, a value-weighted average of home prices, fell 19 percent from January 2008. The decline is the fastest rate on record since 1987, the earliest data that the Case-Shiller tracks.

Miami had an index number of 280.87 at its peak in 2006, but that has now plummeted 43 percent to 159.04. Tampa saw an annual decline of 23.3 percent and a month-over-month drop of 3 percent, while its value dropped 37 percent from its peak in July of 2006.

“Florida is not in good shape,” said David Blitzer, the Chairman of Standard & Poor’s Index Committee, adding that the Sunbelt is “far and away, the worst hit part of the country.”

Miami is not the hardest-hit city in the country, however. Phoenix’s index value has declined 48.5 percent from its peak in June of 2006. Some areas have held up better; Dallas is down only 10.8 percent from its peak in June of 2007. The 20-city composite index is down 29 percent from its peak in 2006.

Average home prices across the United States are at a similar level to what they were in 2003, the report indicates.

All 20 of the metropolitan areas measured reported annual declines, and each has had at least five consecutive months of decline. Home prices in nine metropolitan areas have fallen more than 20 percent in the last year.

While Cleveland, Los Angeles and Las Vegas have shown smaller rates of decline than last year’s values, Blitzer said that can’t be viewed as a sign of improvement unless it is repeated over several months. “We’d like to see sustained improvements over several months in several cities, and we haven’t seen that yet,” he said.

While low interest rates and the federal stimulus package may soon begin to prop up the housing industry, it’s unlikely to recover quickly. “Home prices in the U.S. continue to decline and don’t show any clear signs of a turnaround or reversal,” he said. “The damage is not going to be reversed in a day.”