The Case-Shiller home price index for San Diego was down 2.5 percent in January. This is not as poor a showing as we saw in December, but it’s still pretty bad for a single month. From its November 2005 peak, the Case-Shiller index — the most accurate indicator of aggregate home price movements — has declined by 21.1 percent.

Kelly Bennett has provided a fairly detailed writeup on the movements of the index’s three price tiers, so I won’t rehash that here. Once you’ve read through Kelly’s piece, come on back and have a look at the following charts.

The first chart shows the three tiers’ declines from their respective peaks. The high tier has clearly held up best, although it has started to decline a lot more steeply in recent months.

The second chart shows price changes in the three tiers back through 1989. This puts the high tier’s strength into context, as it becomes clear that high-end home prices didn’t rise nearly as much as those of their as their lower-cost brethren during the bull market (this disparity is largely an artifact of the explosion in subprime mortgage credit).

While the low tier has taken the brunt of it, all three price tiers are now declining pretty reliably. This is no surpise considering that in spite of the steep price declines so far, San Diego homes remain sustantially overvalued.


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