Charting the Housing Collapse

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Check out this chart (via Calculated Risk) based on the newly released Case-Shiller Home Price Index. The Index was up in April. But what I find most interesting is how much cities and regions vary in the way they were hit by the housing bubble and subsequent collapse. The numbers speak for themselves.


Prices are down more than 50 percent in Las Vegas and Phoenix and between 40 and 50 percent in Miami, Tampa, and Detroit. Dallas suffered only a 5 percent decline, while prices in Denver dropped by just 7 percent over the cycle. Prices are off by 13 percent in Boston, 21 percent in New York, and 28 percent in Washington, D.C. That said, it's also clear that the distribution of these losses has been quite uneven within regions with established neighborhoods close to the core holding much better than remote suburbs and exurbs.

Most experts expect housing prices to decline further as federal supports are withdrawn. Recall it took the better part of two and half decades for housing prices to rebound after the Great Depression. My own hunch is that there is still quite a ways to go, especially in over-built regions like Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Miami. But even in these places, more central locations are likely to hold up better. Price declines in the walkable areas of South Beach for example, while considerable, have been significantly less than in downtown Miami or less central and walkable areas. In particular, walkability and neighborhood quality seem to be emerging as the best hedge against massive housing price declines. All of that said, I'd still advocate renting, or at least a wait-and-see approach to buying, while the market remains in such flux.

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Richard Florida is Senior Editor at The Atlantic and Director of the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto. See his most recent writing at The Atlantic Cities. More

Florida is author of The Rise of the Creative Class, Who's Your City?, and The Great Reset. He is founder of the Creative Class Group.

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