Housing

House Prices Rose In April. That May Not Continue.

Case Shiller

The Case-Shiller index of home prices rose in April. Alyson Hurt/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Alyson Hurt/NPR

Home prices rose a bit in April — the first month-over-month rise this year in the Case-Shiller index.

But it may have been a blip, and more declines could be coming.

Home prices rose nearly 1 percent between March and April, according to the the Case-Shiller composite of 20 metro areas. The composite was up nearly 4 percent from April of '09, around the time home prices appeared to bottom out.

But despite the rise, analysts are still wary about the housing market.

April was the final month for the home-buyer tax credit — the program where the federal government was paying people to buy houses. That helped to push up prices.

"This is all about the surge in demand generated by the broadened and extended homebuyer tax credit, and it is surely unsustainable," Ian Shepherdson of High Frequency Economics wrote in a note this morning.

And May sales were weak, according to some early indicators.

Here are the Case-Shiller numbers for metro areas around the country:

Metro AreaApril 2010Monthly ChangeAnnual
Change
Atlanta105.641.8%0.2%
Boston153.561.4%4.9%
Charlotte116.051.1%-2.2%
Chicago120.430.6%-1.6%
Cleveland104.771.4%6.8%
Dallas118.142.0%3.3%
Denver127.501.7%4.4%
Detroit67.810.2%-3.0%
Las Vegas102.820.2%-8.5%
Los Angeles171.780.7%7.8%
Miami145.04-0.8%-0.5%
Minneapolis118.891.8%9.5%
New York168.95-0.3%-1.0%
Phoenix110.060.5%5.4%
Portland146.251.8%-0.4%
San Diego161.390.7%11.7%
San Francisco139.772.2%18.0%
Seattle145.151.0%-2.8%
Tampa137.090.5%-2.4%
Washington179.492.4%7.3%
Composite144.560.8%3.8%

What the numbers mean: In the Case-Shiller index, the median price of a home in January of 2000 is equal to 100. So for the composite index, home prices are more than 40 percent higher than they were in January of 2000. The index is not adjusted for inflation.

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