The annual rate of decline in Twin Cities home prices slowed somewhat in November. That’s according to the latest report from Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller home price index. Prices fell 5 percent compared to November of 2010. That was better than the 6 percent drop reported for October.
And the Twin Cities’ performance bucked a national trend. The annual rate of decline worsened in November for the Case-Shiller 20-city composite index. Of course, it’s worth pointing out that the Twin Cities still had a steeper over-the-year drop than 20-city index, which fell 3.7 percent.
The picture in the Twin Cities is a bit murkier when you look at the monthly numbers. If you don’t take seasonal factors into account (which are a big deal in a place with intense weather, like Minnesota), home prices fell 0.6 percent between October and November in the Twin Cities. But if you do take seasonal factors into account, prices rose a teensy bit: 0.1 percent.
Experts usually insist on using seasonally adjusted numbers. The folks at S&P’s Case-Shiller used to recommend doing so as well. But then they switched and now seem to prefer the non-adjusted numbers. They say there’s too much weirdness with various foreclosure moratoria and other lending issues that muck up their seasonal adjustment process.
But that can make for a confusing picture when you’ve got the seasonally adjusted numbers pointing one way and the non-seasonally adjusted numbers pointing another way, as in this November report. That’s why we typically prefer to look at the year-over-year numbers, which are more solid.
S&P officials say nationally there are few if any signs that a turning point in the housing market is close.