Thursday, August 27, 2009

LA Times: "Housing Index Hints at Upturn"

Case Shiller August 2009Recently, there have been rumblings in the press that the local real estate market may have hit bottom. Yesterday, the Los Angeles Times reported that the market may actually be in the incipient stages of an uptick.

Home prices in Los Angeles and across the nation are showing signs of life...prices in the Los Angeles area are on the rise for the first time since the local market peaked in September 2006.

"There are hints of an upward turn from a bottom," David M. Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at Standard & Poor's, said Tuesday.

In Los Angeles, home prices ticked up 1.1% from May to June on an unadjusted basis, although they are still down almost 18% from a year earlier. the Case-Shiller index for the L.A. area now stands at 160.90, down from its peak of 273.94 in September 2006. (It was at 100.00 January 2000.)
But all the wreckage from the boom-to-bust real estate market has left the state of California in a pickle. The Los Angeles Times also reported yesterday in an article entitled "California assessed values fall":
Tax officials reported Tuesday that total statewide property values fell by 2.4% in the last fiscal year, the first such drop since California began keeping records 76 years ago in the depths of the Great Depression.
Ouch. Look for some fiscal belt-tightening (but not cratering property values!) for some time to come.