Real Estate

Home prices take steeper downturn

Third-quarter home prices dropped 1.7% from prior quarter, largest drop in 21-year history - S&P Case/Shiller.

Subscribe to Real Estate
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)
By Les Christie, CNNMoney.com staff writer

Real Estate:
Your local forecast
381 markets tracked
1. Select your state
2. Select your city/market

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Home prices have fallen steadily since July 2006, but plunged even more steeply in the third quarter, according to a report released Tuesday by S&P Case/Shiller.

According to the Case/Shiller index, which covers 20 local markets and a national average, third-quarter home prices dropped 1.7 percent from the second quarter.

The housing market could possibly get a lot worse, according to Yale economist and index co-founder, Robert Shiller. He was asked at a press conference following the release of the latest index data whether housing price increases, which had far outstripped income gains, could revert back to more normal ratios.

Shiller said, "You're talking about [home-price] declines of 50 percent, in real terms. That's not out of the question."

Referring to the latest declines, Shiller said they were notable for two reasons. "First, the third quarter decline, at 1.7%, was the largest quarterly decline in the index's 21-year history. And, second, the year-over-year decline posted its second consecutive record low at minus 4.5%."

The index, which many experts consider the most accurate snapshot of home price trends, revealed that prices peaked in the summer of 2006 and have fallen 5 percent since then.

Home price growth started to slow in November 2005 and turned negative in August 2006.

Of the 20 markets covered, 15 showed negative returns and all 20 had negative returns for September, compared with a month earlier.

Worst hit was Tampa, Fla., where prices fell 11.1 percent compared with a year earlier. The second biggest loss was in Miami, where prices fell 10 percent from a year earlier.

Charlotte, N.C. and Seattle showed the highest year-to-year gain of 4.7 percent each. But Charlotte declined 0.6 percent in September and Seattle prices fell 0.2 percent.

The housing cycle is very important to the business cycle, according to Shiller. Most economic recessions are preceded by housing declines and residential construction is an important leading indicator for the economy. The weakness in the housing market is causing him to wonder whether the nation could slip into recession.

Shiller conceded that most economists are still optimistic; employment is strong, consumer spending robust and the weaker dollar has increased exports. But, there's a big question in his mind whether subprime problems will lead to a retrenchment in consumer demand.

According to Shiller, the current situation is unprecedented - there's never had been a housing boom quite like the one that ended last year - and how we come out of the bust is anyone's guess.

"We are in the aftermath of the biggest housing boom in history," he said, "and, even though a lot of peoples' models don't reflect [the problems], I think there's a significant chance of recession, over 50 percent." To top of page



Photo Galleries
6 luxury getaways to escape your digital life Step away from your smartphone. No Facebook or Twitter here. These are six places where luxury travel agents send clients looking to unplug and experience the ultimate digital-detox getaway. More
Most reliable cars - Consumer Reports These cars, trucks and SUVs scored best in the magazine's latest survey of vehicle owners. More
Some Converse copycats cost big bucks A few bargain brands got swept up in Chuck Taylor's net, but others cost a pretty penny. More

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.