Will that be one scoop or two? Two, answers home prices.

Dennis Norman

Dennis Norman

When I take my kids out for an ice cream cone it’s pointless to ask if they want one or two dips, they always go for the double dip! What’s good for ice cream sales is not good for home prices though…..and, unfortunately, it appears that home prices are choosing to go for the double dip as well...

Today the S&P/Case-Shiller Index report for January was released showing home prices are off to a dismal start in 2011 and further proof that the housing market is headed toward a double-dip in home prices. The report shows their 20-city composite home price index declined by 3.1 percent from a year ago.

The report shows the Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Home Price Index, for January, is at 140.86, which is a decrease of 1.0 percent from the month before and a decrease of 3.1 percent from the year before. This marks the sixth consecutive month of decreases in the 20-city composite and the index is now at the lowest level since May 2009.

“Keeping with the trends set in late 2010, January brings us weakening home prices with no real hope in sight for the near future,” says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at Standard & Poor’s. “With this month’s data, we find the same 11 MSAs posting new recent index lows. The 10-City and 20-City Composites continue to decline month-over-month and have posted monthly declines for six consecutive months now.

Blitzer continues, “These data confirm what we have seen with recent housing starts and sales reports. The housing market recession is not yet over, and none of the statistics are indicating any form of sustained recovery. At most, we have seen all statistics bounce along their troughs; at worst, the feared double-dip recession may be materializing. A few months ago we defined a double-dip for home prices as seeing the 10- and 20-City Composites set new post-peak lows. The 10-City Composite is still 2.8% above and the 20-City is 1.1% above their respective April 2009 lows, but both series have moved closer to a confirmed double-dip for six consecutive months. At this point we are not too far off, and that is what many analysts are seeing with sales, starts and inventory data too.

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