It's Still Ugly Out There

clouds.jpgThe sun is shining once again in Southern California.  Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about the housing market.  The news this week brought more storm clouds to an already dark horizon.

Today, there was this story about U.S. home prices in November dropping 8.4 percent from a year earlier, according to the Standard and Poors/Case-Shiller composite index. Southern California was one of the harder-hit areas, with San Diego County’s prices slipping 13.9 percent and Los Angeles and Orange counties falling 11.9 percent.

The November index of 10 metropolitan areas saw a year-over-year annual decline of 8.4%, the sharpest annual plunge since the index began in 1987. It was the second-straight record decline for the index, following a 6.7% drop in October. The index shows Los Angeles and Orange County house prices are now 12% below their peak month, which Case-Shiller places at September, 2006.

This news followed this story Monday that new-home prices fell by a record amount in 2007:

Sales of new homes fell last year by 26 percent, the steepest drop since records began in 1963, the Commerce Department said on Monday. Last week, the National Association of Realtors reported that sales of previously owned single-family homes, a large portion of the overall housing market.

Depressed enough?  Maybe it would cheer you up to learn that Countrywide Home Loans posted a $422 million fourth-quarter loss. Irresponsible lending is at the root of the current crisis, and Countrywide, the nation’s largest mortgage lender, led the way.  Now, the company is fighting for its life. What goes around, comes around.

Recent Redfin posts:

The Tussle for Territory

Reduced Far Enough?  A WeHo One-Bedroom