Writing in this magazine, I argued that the economic crisis was reshaping America's economic geography, with big city centers and mega-region hubs like New York City, talent-rich regions like greater D.C., and college towns weathering the storm relatively well, while Rustbelt cities and shallow-rooted Sunbelt economies being much harder hit.
Take a look at the graph below from the newly released SP/Case-Shiller Home Price Index for April.
Phoenix and Las Vegas have taken the biggest hits: Housing prices there have declined more than 50 percent in the past year. Miami is next, then Detroit where housing prices have sunk to mid-90s levels. San Francisco is the only significant talent region to be pummeled. Part of this is to be expected given the tremendous run-up in housing prices there, but still prices remain higher than 2000 levels. San Diego, L.A., and Tampa have all seen declines in excess of 40 percent.
Housing prices have declined less significantly in greater D.C., Chicago (hub of the great Chi-Pitts mega-region and a magnet for regional talent), Seattle (a high-tech, high human capital center), Atlanta (a talent hub for the southeast), New York, Portland, Boston, Denver - (talent hub for the Rockies), Dallas (a mega-region hub), and Charlotte (which along with Atlanta hubs the great Char-lanta mega-region). Cleveland breaks the pattern, but like Detroit its absolute housing values have fallen. Prices in greater D.C., along with Denver, Dallas, and Cleveland, were actually up in April.