Home prices in America’s major metropolitan areas fell 4.2 percent in the first quarter of 2011, setting prices back to mid-2002 levels and pointing to a double dip in the housing market, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index released today.
The index hit a new recession low with a 5.1 percent year-over-year decline, the rating’s agency said. Twelve of the 20 cities covered by the index hit new lows in March. Minneapolis posted a 10 percent annual decline. Washington, DC was the only city where home prices increased over the past year, rising 1.1 percent for the month and 4.3 percent for the year. Seattle was up 0.1 percent in March, but down 7.5 percent for the year.
“This month’s report is marked by the confirmation of a double-dip in home prices across much of the nation,” said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Indices, in a prepared statement. “Since December 2010 we have found an increasing number of markets posting new lows.”
The rebound in prices seen in 2009 and 2010 was largely due to the first-time home buyers tax credit, Blitzer said. “Excluding the results of that policy, there has been no recovery or even stabilization in home prices during or after the recent recession.”