Case-Shiller: Prices Continue Declining Into Spring

It’s time for our monthly check-in of the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices (HPI). For the full source data behind this post, hit the S&P/Case-Shiller website.

For an explanation of how the Case-Shiller data is calculated, check out their methodology pdf. Also remember that the data released on the last Tuesday of a given month is for the period two months prior (i.e. – March data is released in May).

Here are the basic Case-Shiller stats for the Boston area* as of March:

March 2009
Month to Month: Down 2.0%
Year to Year: Down 8.0%
Change from Peak: Down 20.1% in 42 months

The following chart shows the Boston area HPI scaled such that the September 2005 peak is 100% on the y-axis. Data on the x-axis is scaled to display the last time (pre-peak) the Boston area HPI was at or lower than it was in the latest data (September 2002).


Boston home prices actually increased in March in 2006 and 2007, and fell 1.1% in 2008. This year’s 2.0% 1-month drop is definitely something of a deviation from the recent pattern. It will be interesting to see if we still get a late spring / early summer bump in the HPI beginning in April like we did in 2008.

Here’s a chart of Case-Shiller HPIs for all the markets that Redfin serves, so you can compare the Boston area’s performance to other areas across the country:


And here’s our final chart, in which we line up the peak Case-Shiller HPI value for each of Redfin’s markets, so we can see how long each market has been declining, and how much it has dropped from the peak.


While Boston had been showing much more resilience since the start of the bust, it seems that recent months have somewhat broken this trend. Even so, Boston’s home prices have still fallen less than most other cities measured by the Case-Shiller index, and would have to experience a massive fallout to “catch up,” which seems highly unlikely at this point.

*[Case-Shiller defines Boston as the entire Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all or part of the following counties: Essex MA, Middlesex MA, Norfolk MA, Plymouth MA, Suffolk MA, Rockingham NH, and Strafford NH.]