The Breakdown

Explaining Southern California's economy

Housing prices: Los Angeles is on the edge

26296 full
26296 full

The Case-Shiller index is out for March 2012. The bottom line is that price declines across the indices — which tracks housing prices data in two groups, across 10 and 20 U.S. cities — are moderating. Or seem to be moderating. This means that many cities may finally be scraping along a true bottom for housing prices, setting the stage for a recovery that can sustain itself. 

This is from the S&P/Case-Shiller press release:

“The regions showed mixed results for March.  Twelve of the cities saw average home prices rise in March over February, seven saw prices fall and one  – Las Vegas  – was flat.   The Composites were largely unchanged with the 10-City down only 0.1% and the 20-City unchanged.  After close to six consecutive months of price declines across most cities, this is relatively good news.  We just need to see it happen in more of the cities and for many months in a row.  Since we are entering a seasonal buying period, it becomes very important to look at both monthly and annual rates of change in home prices in order to understand the broader trend going forward.”

Wither Los Angeles in all this? Well, our February-to-March numbers weren't as robust as other cities, but we were among those 12 cities that saw our homes prices rise — barely. We just beat out Las Vegas, as the table below (via Bloomberg) shows.

We're basically right on the edge between positive and negative pricing territory, balancing precariously.

If you read across, you can see slow improvement in the 3-month, 1-year, and 3-year time frames. You can also notice, if you study the entire chart, an absence of double-digit negative numbers for L.A. In fact, L.A. has tracked fairly closely to the Case-Schiller 20-city composite.

This, combined with our current position in the middle of the housing pack, city-wise, makes us a decent bellwether for the overall market.

============================================================
               1-months 3-months  1-year  2-years  3-years
               earlier  earlier  earlier  earlier  earlier
============================================================
US Composite-20  -0.03%   -1.84%   -2.57%   -6.45%   -4.26%
------------------------------------------------------------
Phoenix           2.17%    4.39%    6.09%   -2.87%   -0.51%
Seattle           1.74%    0.18%   -1.31%   -8.69%  -11.96%
Dallas            1.56%    1.16%    1.49%   -1.15%    1.90%
Denver            1.52%    0.03%    2.57%   -1.32%    2.73%
Tampa             1.28%    0.33%   -0.96%   -8.04%  -11.30%
Charlotte         1.17%    0.16%    0.44%   -4.68%   -8.37%
San Francisco     1.04%   -2.16%   -2.99%   -7.90%    6.99%
Washington DC     0.96%   -1.07%   -0.59%    0.61%    6.35%
Miami             0.91%    2.22%    2.53%   -3.69%   -5.37%
============================================================
               1-months 3-months  1-year  2-years  3-years
               earlier  earlier  earlier  earlier  earlier
============================================================
Cleveland         0.45%   -3.17%   -2.44%   -8.39%   -2.28%
San Diego         0.41%   -0.49%   -2.73%   -6.58%    3.53%
Los Angeles       0.13%   -1.46%   -4.78%   -6.38%   -0.72%
Las Vegas        -0.02%   -0.93%   -7.52%  -12.39%  -22.88%
Boston           -0.21%   -1.76%   -0.96%   -3.61%    0.06%
Portland         -0.46%   -2.82%   -2.76%  -10.17%  -12.64%
New York         -0.85%   -2.84%   -2.75%   -6.73%   -9.06%
Atlanta          -0.91%   -5.46%  -17.74%  -20.44%  -21.45%
Minneapolis      -0.92%   -2.73%    3.25%   -6.85%   -0.34%
Chicago          -2.51%   -6.75%   -7.05%  -14.15%  -16.11%
Detroit          -4.43%   -5.43%    2.27%   -1.51%   -6.03%
============================================================

 

Follow Matthew DeBord and the DeBord Report on Twitter. And ask Matt questions at Quora.

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