January 31st, 2012 12:49 PM by Lehel S.
Once again the S&P/Case-Shiller index has found that home prices are creeping downward. But just how bad is it? As of November 2011, average home prices across the U.S. are back to where they were in 2003 – despite the lowest interest rates in half a century.
Prices in the 20 cities also steepened their year-over-year decline, falling 3.7% compared to 3.4% in October.
"Despite continued low interest rates and better real GDP growth in the fourth quarter, home prices continue to fall," said David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P.
"The trend is down,” he added, “and there are few, if any, signs in the numbers that a turning point is close at hand."
Some housing economists believe – citing a coming wave of foreclosures once the robo-sigining settlement is signed – a revival in home values will not be seen until 2014 or 2015.
Still, in some markets it is now cheaper to own than to rent.