Case-Shiller: Washington Home Prices Still Looking for Bottom

I apologize again for the multi-week radio silence here. We’ve revamped our data delivery to be able to better streamline the whole process, and from now on there will be a regular schedule of in-depth data in this space. For now though, it’s time for our monthly check-in of the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices (HPI).

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. – November data is released in January).

Here are the basic Case-Shiller stats for the DC area* as of November:

November 2008
Month to Month: Down 2.4%
Year to Year: Down 19.4%
Change from Peak: Down 28.1% in 30 months

The following chart shows the DC HPI scaled such that the May 2006 peak is 100% on the y-axis. Data on the x-axis is scaled to display the last time (pre-peak) the DC HPI was at or lower than it was in the latest data (April 2004).


DC’s Case-Shiller HPI has been declining at a highly uniform rate for the last three months, and since we’re heading into winter with this data update, it may even speed up over the next few months.

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


DC’s HPI continues to come in higher than any other Redfin market, indicating the most overall price growth since 2000, for whatever that’s worth.

And here’s one more chart, in which I have lined 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.


DC is still tracking fairly closely to the ground covered by price drops in San Diego six months prior, putting it as one of the more rapidly-declining markets. Great news for homebuyers looking for a deal lately, if you can stomach the possibility of further declines. With this latest data, price declines still do not appear to be approaching a bottom.

*[Case-Shiller defines Washington DC as the entire Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of the District of Columbia and all or part of the following counties: Calvert MD, Charles MD, Frederick MD, Montgomery MD, Prince Georges MD, Alexandria City VA, Arlington VA, Clarke VA, Fairfax VA, Fairfax City VA, Falls Church City VA, Fauquier VA, Fredericksburg City VA, Loudoun VA, Manassas City VA, Manassas Park City VA, Prince William VA, Spotsylvania VA, Stafford VA, Warren VA, and Jefferson WV.]

  • Potomac Secret Agent

    The decline in prices can be a great opportunity to get into a home. It has been a long time since an investor could put down 30% and get a positive cash flow on a rental property. Great cmments, please keep it up. Cheers! PotomacSecretAgent

  • Brandon

    Give it a few more months–I expect the DC real estate market will bottom out in the fall. In the mean time though, it’s a great time to be a buyer of investor.

  • shinman ( new agent )

    I serve the North Potomac, Rockville, Gaithersburg. Good homes ALWAYS comand a premium, this is a given, but I do see many homes listed that will sit there becuase the sellers are not lowering thier prices. Its a shame becuase many home owners are over pricing their homes.