The monthly Case-Shiller Housing Price Index is a popular and often-quoted measurement of the housing market’s health. The chart above is sourced from its report published yesterday.
In 18 of the 20 largest metropolitan areas, home values declined at a slower pace than in the previously measured month. The report also showed that national home prices are down 14.4 percent from March 2007.
Unfortunately, it’s the more sensation “14.4” figure that newspapers chose to report this morning. If you never went further than the headline, you’d miss a key piece of analysis.
Comparing today’s market to last year’s market is a lot less valuable than comparing it to last month’s market. That’s a better way to analyze the market’s health.
If we look beyond the headline and examine the data behind it, we see that housing may still be sagging in some areas, but it’s not sagging nearly as much as it used to.