S&P/Case-Shiller reported on Tuesday that home prices in the metropolitan areas they survey declined again in January with both the 10-City and 20-City Composite indexes declining 0.8 percent for the month.  The 10-City Composite saw a 3.9 percent decrease since January 2011 and the 20-City was down 3.8 percent.  The decreases in the composites were at least of a smaller scale than in December when both were down 4.1 percent.   The price decline in ten of the cities was also of lesser magnitude than in December.

Only three of the 19 cities, Miami, Phoenix, and Washington, DC (Charlotte was not included in the January study because of reporting delays) showed a monthly increase while eight of the remaining 16 and both composites posted new lows in January.  Only Denver, Detroit, and Phoenix posted positive annual growth rates of 0.2 percent, 1.7 percent, and 1.3 percent respectively while Atlanta again had the highest annual negative change at -14.8 percent and the only one in double digits, followed by Chicato with a 6.6 percent decrease and Cleveland which was down 3.3 percent. 

David Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Indices said that "Atlanta continues to stand out in terms of recent relative weakness.  It was down 2.1 percent over the month and has fallen by a cumulative 19.7 percent over the last six months.  Seven of the cities were down by 1.0 percent or more over the month.  With the new lows, both Composites are now 34.4 percent off their relative 2006 peaks."

As of January, average home prices across the U.S. are back to levels of nearly a decade ago, early 2003.  The 34.4 percent decline referenced by Blizer is measured from the composites' June/July 2006 peaks.

The S&P Indices have a base value of 100 based on prices in January 2000.  Thus a current index of 150 translates to a 50 percent appreciation rate since that date for a typical home located within the subject market.  Current values for home in the 20-City index range from 68.81 in Detroit and 85.49 in Atlanta to 161.16 in New York and 180.21 in Washington, DC.