SD, LA counties only areas to show housing price increase


San Diego and Los Angeles were the only large metropolitan areas to show an increase in housing prices in January 2010 over December 2009, and among the few to post significant gains over the previous year, according to a Standard & Poor’s report released Tuesday.

The S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Indices tracks residential real estate costs in 20 major housing markets against a baseline of 100 set in January 2000, without listing an actual average housing price.

The monthly increase for the San Diego housing market was 0.4 percent. Prices jumped 5.9 percent between January 2009 and January 2010, according to the report.

San Diego’s price index of 156.95 reflects appreciation in value of nearly 57 percent in the past 10 years.

In Los Angeles, the monthly jump was 0.9 percent, and the annual hike was 3.9 percent. The index now stands at 172.98, or appreciation of nearly 73 percent during this decade, the second-largest behind Washington, D.C.

The national figures covering the 20 major metropolitan areas were a monthly drop of 0.4 percent, a yearly decline of 0.7 percent and a 10-year appreciation of 45 percent.

“The report is mixed,” said David Blitzer, the chairman of the Standard & Poor’s Index Committee. “While we continue to see improvements in the year-over-year data for all 20 cities, the rebound in housing prices seen last fall is fading.”

Fewer cities experienced month-to-month gains in January as did in December, and prices in four cities reached new lows, Blitzer said.

He also said housing starts remain extremely low, the numbers of home sales show the market is still difficult, and there are still concerns about future foreclosures and a large “shadow inventory” of unsold homes.