U.S. home prices continued to fall at a record-breaking pace in August, with the Los Angeles area posting among the sharpest declines, according to a prominent index released Tuesday.
The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller index of home prices in 20 metropolitan areas was down 16.6% in August from the same month a year ago. Home prices in Los Angeles and Orange counties were down 26.7% in August compared with August 2007.
Every one of the 20 regions in the index reported a price decline from August 2007. Phoenix’s 30.7% drop from the previous year was essentially matched by Las Vegas, which posted a 30.6% decline from a year earlier.
Close behind in their August annual price drops were Miami (28.1%), San Francisco (27.3%) and San Diego (25.8%).
The smallest August yearly declines were in Dallas (2.7%) and Charlotte, N.C. (2.8%).
In the Los Angeles area, lower-priced homes showed greater price declines than the high end of the market. The bottom third of homes, those selling for less than $380,000, declined 39% in value in August compared with August 2007, according to the index. Prices of the top third of homes, those priced above $573,000, fell 19% in August compared with a year earlier.
Lower-priced Los Angeles-area homes dropped 42% from their fall 2006 peak price. The highest-priced third of Los Angeles area homes was down 21% from its peak in the summer of 2006.
Overall, Los Angeles-area home prices were down 31% from their fall 2006 peak and matched spring 2004 prices.
The Case-Shiller index compares the latest sales of detached houses with previous sales, and accounts for factors such as remodeling that might affect a house’s sale price over time.
From those data, an index score is created to show price changes. An index score of 100 reflects January 2000 prices. The August index score for Los Angeles was 189.18.