Month-to-Month Data a Bitter Pill

It is hard to find much of a silver lining in the month to month data. Only Washington DC posted an increase, and that was anemic at just 0.05%. Only three other cities kept the decline to less than 0.5%: Las Vegas down 0.21%, Denver down 0.30% and L.A. down 0.43%.

On the other hand, there were five cities that posted month-to-month declines of over 1.5%. The Twin Cities were the hardest hit, plunging 2.21%, followed by Cleveland with a 2.00% decline. Portland was down 1.72%, Detroit fell 1.61% and Phoenix fell 1.55%. Those are similar in magnitude to the monthly declines we were seeing three years ago during the first wave of the housing price implosion.

Results by Region

On a year-over-year basis, the strongest cities are in California, which was an early poster child for the housing bust. However, even there the year-over-year gains are starting to erode. San Francisco leads the way with a 5.43% rise, followed by San Diego, up 4.94%. LA was in fourth place with a 4.32% year-over-year increase.

DC was in third place with a 4.40% gain. Boston was the only other city with a year-over-year gain, and it was up just 0.39%. As recently as July, the year-over-year gains in California were 11.06% in SF, 9.26% in SD and 7.5% in LA.

There were nine metropolitan areas where the year over year declines were more than 2.5%. Chicago fared the worst with a 5.63% decline, followed by 4.36% in Tampa. It is not going to take global warming to put that entire city underwater -- the housing market has already accomplished that.

Charlotte, which early on seemed relatively immune from the housing bust, is down 3.72% year over year. Portland is down 3.63%, and Detroit is off 3.15%. In other words, significant year-over-year declines are happening in just about every corner of the country.

The graph below tracks the cumulative declines for each city over time. If the red bar is shorter to the downside than the yellow bar for a city, it indicates that prices in that city have risen since the start of this year.

In every city prices are below where they were in April 2006, but there is a huge variation. Las Vegas is the hardest hit, with prices down 57.57% from the peak, followed by Phoenix down 53.65%. Three more cities are down more than 40%, Miami (down 47.92%), Detroit (off 45.19%) and Tampa (with a 43.53% decline).