The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home price index for October, released on Wednesday, fell again for what is the 10th consecutive month. The 6.7 percent drop from figures a year earlier was the largest recorded by the index since April, 1991 when prices declined 6.3 percent.

The S&P/Case-Shiller report uses methodology similar to that of the quarterly Housing Market Index report from the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO) - that is comparing repeated sales of the same property. In fact, Case-Shiller developed the system which was adopted by the federal agency. Case-Shiller, however, reports on a much smaller universe than OFHEO. The former looks at existing single-family homes in 20 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs.) These areas are then aggregated to form two distinct indices - one a 10 city index, another for the entire 20 MSA sample. OFHEO's quarterly report separately evaluates all of the states and the District of Columbia and several hundred metropolitan areas. It also takes a less in-depth look at several dozen smaller markets.



In the Case-Shiller study, the index for the 20 metropolitan areas reported that 11 MSAs posted recorded declines during the study period and all 20 were down from September 2007 to October 2007 with San Diego showing the largest decline in a single month; 2.6 percent.

Miami was the biggest loser in the broad index with a decline of 12.4 percent in October, 2007 compared to October, 2006. Tampa, Florida was off 11.8 percent year over year while Detroit, Las Vegas, Phoenix, and San Diego also posted double digit declines.

Charlotte, North Carolina; Portland, Oregon; and Seattle, Washington each pulled out a price increase for October, 2007 over October 2006 with Charlotte leading the pack with an increase of 4.3 percent. Charlotte has become the home base of many major financial institutions including two of the nation's largest banks; Bank of America and Wachovia and has seen an enormous increase in employment over the last few years.

Robert Shiller, one of the designers of the study and chief economist at MacroMarkets, LLC commented that, "No matter how you look at these data, it is obvious that the current state of the single-family housing market remains grim."

Data is due on the last two business days of the year regarding November sales of both existing houses and new houses coming, respectively, from the National Association of Realtors and the U.S. Census Bureau/Department of Housing and Urban Development and will be reported here on Thursday and Friday. Information on interest rates and mortgage activity during the pre-Christmas week has been embargoed by the Mortgage Bankers Association and will thus have to be reported tomorrow.