US residential prices back to 2003 levels

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Prices Indices was down 18.2% in 2008. Phoenix, Las Vegas and San Francisco were among the worst areas affected.

US home prices have hit a 21-year low, according to the latest data from the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices.

The indices, which track home prices across the largest 20 cities in the US, fell by 18.2 percent in the final quarter of 2008 compared to the same period 12 months earlier – the largest decline ever seen in its 21-year history.

House prices in the US are now back down to 2003 levels. The average property has fallen 26.6 percent in value since the peak in the second quarter of 2006.

“The broad downturn in the residential real estate market continues,” said David Blitzer, S&P index committee chairman. “There are very few, if any, pockets of turnaround that one can see in the data. Most of the nation appears to remain on a downward path.”

The seven-worst performing cities in the US included Phoenix, which was down 34 percent in the final quarter of 2008 compared to 2007, according to the index; Las Vegas, which was down 33 percent and San Francisco, which fell 31.2 percent.

Denver, Dallas, Cleveland and Boston were among the best performers in terms of annual declines, which were down by only 4 percent, 4.3 percent, 6.1 percent and 7 percent respectively.