Case-Shiller: 1.5 Years of Price Gains Erased From Dec. to Mar.

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 Chicago area* as of March:

March 2009
Month to Month: Down 3.1%
Year to Year: Down 18.6%
Change from Peak: Down 27.4% in 30 months

The following chart shows the Chicago area HPI scaled such that the September 2006 peak is 100% on the y-axis. Data on the x-axis is scaled to display the last time (pre-peak) the Chicago area HPI was at or lower than it was in the latest data (June 2002).

chicago-case-shiller-peak_2009-03

Chicago’s climb from 2002 through late 2006 was remarkably steady, averaging 0.7% increases each month for over four years. That means that when home prices fall 3.1% in a single month, it can easily wipe out multiple months of price increases, as has happened here since December. The last three months of price drops have erased a year and a half of previous price gains from 2002-2003.

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

case-shiller-redfin-markets_2009-03

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.

case-shiller-peak-declines_2009-03

While some markets have been experiencing a softening of the real estate price declines, that does not appear to be showing up in the Chicago data just yet. Granted, March’s 3.1% drop was smaller than the 4.6% and 3.4% declines seen in January and February, but it was still the largest one-month drop of the eight Case-Shiller tracked markets that Redfin serves.

*[Case-Shiller defines Chicago as the entire Chicago-Naperville-Joliet, IL Metropolitan Division, which includes all of the following counties: Cook IL, DeKalb IL, Du Page IL, Grundy IL, Kane IL, Kendal IL, McHenry IL, and Will IL.]