Metro Detroit home prices rise for 4th month in row

Posted on December 30, 2011

Home prices in metro Detroit rose for the fourth consecutive month in October while many other large cities have seen declines, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller home price indices released Tuesday.

The nation’s 20 largest cities saw a 3.4% annual decline in home prices in October. The decreases were down from September, falling 1.2% for the top 20 cities.

Detroit and Washington, D.C., metro areas were the only two in the top 20 to post annual increases in home prices with 2.5% and 1.3%, respectively.

Metro Detroit home prices are still nearly 30% below 2000 levels and were down by 3.3% from September levels, according to the S&P data.

Other cities with home prices below 2000 levels are Atlanta, roughly 9% off; Cleveland, less than a half a percentage point down, and Las Vegas, nearly 8% down.

Metro Detroit along with Chicago, Cleveland and Minneapolis posted declines of more than 1% in October compared with September after strong summer buying seasons.

“There was weakness in the monthly statistics, as 19 of the cities posted price declines in October over September,” said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Indices.

Phoenix, with a 0.3% increase in home prices in October when compared with September, was the only top 20 city with a positive monthly change.

Patrick Newport, U.S. economist for IHS Global Insight, said that the data indicates that home prices are in decline again after stalling earlier this year. He has predicted another 5% to 10% in price declines before recovery begins.

“The stall earlier this year probably resulted from a slowing of the foreclosure pipeline after the media reported that lenders had cut corners in processing foreclosures,” Newport stated.

That said, further stalls are likely because the housing picture is still clouded with delinquent and underwater mortgages and high unemployment.

Greta Guest, Detroit Free Press