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 Los Angeles area (which Case-Shiller defines as LA and Orange Counties) as of March:
Month to Month: Down 1.4%
Year to Year: Down 22.3%
Change from Peak: Down 41.3% in 30 months
The following chart shows the Los Angeles 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 Los Angeles HPI was at or lower than it was in the latest data (July 2003).
Los Angeles’ year-over-year price drops have been moderating now for five months. Both Los Angeles and San Diego are now clocking in with yearly declines of “only” 22%:
Here’s a chart of Case-Shiller HPIs for all the markets that Redfin serves, so you can compare Los Angeles’ 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.
Southern California definitely appears to be on the leading edge of the national real estate trends. With prices still falling over 20% in a year, it’s far too early to call this a sign of a recovery, but it could definitely be a sign of an imminent bottom. The question then becomes how long will we stay at that bottom?