Case-Shiller: DC Home Price Drops Moderate Slightly

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 Washington DC area* as of March:

March 2009
Month to Month: Down 1.2%
Year to Year: Down 18.4%
Change from Peak: Down 33.9% in 34 months

The following chart shows the DC area 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 area HPI was at or lower than it was in the latest data (December 2003).


DC’s decline in March was the smallest in recent months, dropping below 2% for the first time since last August. The 1-month decline also just happened to match the 1-month increase seen in January 2004.

Here’s a chart of Case-Shiller HPIs for all the markets that Redfin serves, so you can compare the DC area’s 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.


Could this slight flattening in the DC area be the beginning of a slight spring bounce in the local market? The following months should be interesting. I suspect that even if we do see a slight spring bump, price declines may simply resume later in the year.

*[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.]

  • pv

    It would be helpful if the charts would be built on seasonally-adjusted data, and even better Washington data should be presented by tiers as they behave quite differently (in particular, low tier fell quite well and the fall just starts to slow down a bit while high tier just started to fall in earnest and the fall accelerates.