While the latest numbers show consumer confidence may be at a three-year high (which may not be saying much), the average home price in many major cities continues to sink, with nearly a dozen of these areas hitting post-boom lows in December.
According to the latest Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller Index, which tracks the real estate market in 20 major U.S. cities, the average December home price in those markets was 2.4% lower than in December 2009.
Only two of the cities on the index — Washington, DC, (+4.1%) and San Diego (+1.7%) — saw prices going up, and L.A. (-.2%), San Francisco (-.4%) and Boston (-.8%) remained nearly unchanged.
With a negative change of -9.1%, Detroit brought up the rear of the index. It was also one of the 11 cities with new lows. The other cities sharing that distinction are:
Charlotte, NC (-4.4%)
Las Vegas (-4.7%)
Portland, OR (-7.8%)
As for the possibility of seeing these prices continuing to dip over the next year, one economist isn’t ruling it out:
The second downward leg in house prices that began last year will continue throughout this year and take prices to a new cycle low, some 5% below current levels… If a vicious circle of falling prices and rising foreclosures were to develop, prices would fall much further.