Home prices in October beat forecast, dipping lower than expected

housing market double dip

A double dip in the housing market is imminent, analysts say, as home prices dropped further than expected in October. Image: CC johpan/Flickr

Home prices dipped lower than expected from September to October according to an industry report. The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller home price index released Tuesday also reported that October’s plunge in home prices was the greatest year-over-year drop since December 2009. Analysts blamed the end of the homebuyer tax credit and warned of a double-dip in the housing market.

The Case-Shiller home price index

In October month-to-month home prices fell in 18 of 20 markets surveyed by the Case-Shiller home price index. Housing industry experts had predicted a flat October following a weak September. The decline in value hit faster and harder than expected after the end of the homebuyer tax credit last summer. Home prices in the 20 markets fell 1.3 percent from September to October, an annualized decline of 15 percent. Atlanta was hit hardest with a 2.1 percent drop in home prices. Five other markets, including Charlotte, N.C.; Miami; Portland, Ore.; Seattle and Tampa, Fla., hit all-time lows since the housing market collapsed in 2007.

Housing market double-dip

The chairman of the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index committee said the housing market is poised on the edge of the double-dip analysts have been warning about. Home prices in October have dropped 30 percent since peaking in July 2006. A backlog of foreclosures waiting in the wings will continue downward pressure on home prices in 2011. Inventory of homes for sale is up 50 percent over December 2009. Millions of homeowners planning to sell are standing by for signs that the housing market will recover.

Housing market winners and losers in 2011

The sustained decline in home prices is bad news for Realtors. However, news about a housing market double-dip is good news for homebuyers. The Case Shiller home price index reported that sales volume was down 25 percent from December 2009 as potential homebuyers wait for the housing market to bottom out. But there’s a catch. The depressed housing market is a drag on economic recovery as it is inextricably connected to high unemployment and low consumer confidence. Even though economists are optimistic about 2011 economic growth, home prices are expected to decline as much as 3 percent further in 2011.




Wall Street Journal

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