Atlanta had the only double-digit negative annual price decline falling 17.3 percent below February 2010 in the latest S&P/ Caser-Shiller Home Price Index.
January marked the fifth consecutive month of double-digit negative returns for Atlanta and the lowest
annual return in Case-Shiller’s 20-year history. On the other hand, only three metros-Miami, Phoenix and San Diego, all located in the four traditional “sand states” that just two years ago accounted for more than half of all foreclosures-were the only to register positive monthly returns over January.
“Phoenix and Atlanta stand out this month in terms of their contrasting relative strength and weakness in the early 2012 housing market. At one end of the spectrum, we have Atlanta posting a double-digit, and lowest negative annual rates and seven consecutive monthly declines. On the other hand, Phoenix has posted two consecutive months of positive annual rates, with its latest being +3.3 percent, and five consecutive positive monthly returns,” said David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Indices.
Blitzer said Phoenix may be turning around but it has a long way to go to regain the equity that has been lost. It is still down 54.2 percent from its peak in 2007.
Five of the 20 MSAs tracked by Case-Shiller saw positive annual returns – Denver, Detroit, Miami, Minneapolis and Phoenix. Nine MSAs — Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Las Vegas, New York, Portland, Seattle and Tampa — and both Composites posted new index lows in February 2012. These were the same cities that posted index lows last month. Atlanta, Cleveland, Detroit and Las Vegas continue to have average home prices below their January 2000 levels.