Local and national housing reports released Tuesday morning provide more evidence that the housing market in the Twin Cities and beyond is still struggling, but not getting worse. Here's the run-down on the latest data:
- The Case-Shiller Home Price Index, which tracks repeat sales of the same property, said that during September, prices in the Twin Cities metro area were down 7.4 percent compared with last year and down just 0.9 percent from August. For the 20-city composite tracked by the group, prices were down 3.6 percent. Locally and nationally there was little change in the indexes.
- The Builders Association of the Twin Cities said that during November, Twin Cities home builders pulled about the same number of permits as they did in 2010. However, the number of units they planned to build with those permits fell shy of last year. A single permit can be issued to build more than one unit. So far this year, construction activity is down compared with last year, but still better than 2009.
- Corelogic said that during the third quarter, 17.5 percent of all residential properties in the Twin Cities metro area with a mortgage were worth less than what's owed on the mortgage. That's compared with 17.4 percent during the second quarter. It could be a lot worse. In Nevada, 58 percent of all mortgaged properties were upside-down. Nationwide, 22.5 percent of homes with mortgages were underwater.
Housing experts say that 2011 won't be the worst year on record and that in 2012 the market will still struggle to make meaningful gains in both sales and price increases, but that prices aren't expected to fall signficantly. The latest local home sales data won't be released until November 10. That report will show an increase in sales, but price declines caused by strong sales of foreclosures and short sales.