Declines in U.S. home prices were not as severe in February as in the preceding months, with 16 of the 20 metro areas tracked by the Boston based S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index showing improvement in their monthly returns compared to January. February was the first month since October 2007 that the index’s 10-city and 20-city composites did not post record annual declines. But 10 of the 20 metropolitan areas still showed record rates of decline compared to a year ago, with 15 reporting declines of 10 percent or more from a year ago.
The 10-city and 20-city composites posted annual price declines in February of 18.8 percent and 18.6 percent, respectively, which is a slight improvement from the 19.4 percent and 19.0 percent declines reported in January.
“While the declines in residential real estate continued into February, we witnessed some deceleration in the rate of decline in some of the markets,” says David M. Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at Standard & Poor’s. “We will certainly need a few more months of data before we can determine if home prices are finally turning around.”
The same three cities once again posted the highest rates of decline in February compared to a year ago: Phoenix was down 35.2 percent; Las Vegas declined 31.7 percent; and San Francisco fell 31.0 percent. Dallas, Denver and Boston faired the best, with declines of 4.5 percent, 5.7 percent and 7.2 percent, respectively.