Case Shiller report shows a deceleration in the annual growth rates in 17 of the 20 MSAs. Housing generally leads the economy out of a recession. This time its not, housing is simply suffering. Not only is money tight but job creation is still a big hurt. In some cities, the decline over the last year was quite sharp.

David M. Blitze,chairman of S.&P.’s index committee tells the NY Times that a double-dip could be confirmed before spring. He goes on to say the series is now only 4.8% and 3.3% above their April 2009 lows. Certainly nine cities set new lows, and with the only positive news concentrated in southern California and Washington DC, the data point to weakness in home prices.

S&P sounds dismal, indeed. David Wyss, S&Ps chief economist tells martketwatch that The recovery in home prices has not only stopped, it's going in reverse, that it's going to get worse before it gets better

Some Balance Is Needed

Artificial Stimulus
The tax credit
First, the index to a positive spike due to the tax credit, an artificial inducement to buy. Well it worked, and we saw buyers flood the market. But comparing new data to a spike that doesnt represent normal market behavior, but a artificial spike in home sales due to the tax credit can skew the true picture.

This is the slowest part of the year for home sales and must have something to do with the steep decline

Could the weather have been worse for the mid west and east coast? Winter is traditionally a poor indicator of market health.

Certainly, this market needs no excuses and Im not second guessing S&P, but lets not lose perspective - winter data is hardly a leading indicator for housing markets and there is more to the story than the data is expressing.

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