Case-Shiller: Chicago Home Prices Heading for Another Flat Summer?

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, plus seasonally adjusted and tiered price data, 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. – April data is released in June).

Here are the basic Case-Shiller stats for the Chicago area* as of April:

April 2009
Month to Month: Down 0.03%
Year to Year: Down 18.7%
Change from Peak: Down 27.5% in 31 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).


It looks like we may be starting a repeat of last year’s performance, when prices around Chicago more or less flattened from March through July.

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


To recap, we have seen the following interventions in recent months meant to boost the housing market:

  • $8k first-time buyer tax credit
  • 4.5% – 5% mortgage rates
  • various moratoriums on foreclosures
  • numerous federal programs encouraging loan workouts

The apparent result of this host of actions has been a flattening to very slight upticks seen in the chart above, in a month that is historically one of the strongest of the year for the real estate market. I guess you can color me underwhelmed.

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.


I don’t know where the bottom is for Chicago area home prices, and unfortunately April’s flattening pattern certainly doesn’t point us to a clear answer on that question. It looks like we’ll have to wait until the fall to see if price drops are done yet in Chicago.

*[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.]