House prices in San Diego County have fallen to a point last seen in late 2003, according to the most recent Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller Home Price Index released this morning.

Today’s reading of the index, dated April 2008, was 180.57. That means prices are still about 81 percent higher than they were in January 2000, when the index was centered at 100.

Prices have fallen 28 percent from the peak of 250.34 in November 2005. And they’ve fallen 22 percent from the same time last year.

April’s reading matches a point last seen around October and November 2003.

Broken into thirds, the index showed drops along the following lines:

  • Lowest tier (Homes priced lower than $379,636): Prices fell 30.9 percent year-over-year and 36.1 percent from this tier’s peak in June 2006.
  • Middle tier (Homes priced between $379,636 and $566,964): Prices fell 23.3 percent compared to April 2007 and 29.7 percent from this tier’s peak in November 2005.
  • Highest tier (More than $566,964): Prices fell 15 percent year-over-year and 19.2 percent from this tier’s peak in June 2006.

The index measures price changes on the same houses over the years. It doesn’t track condos or new homes.

We’re working on a full story with these numbers, so check back for more later. One quick observation is that the drops on the high end are growing — last month’s index showed lesser drops both year-over-year and from the peak.

As always, if you have thoughts or questions or just want to say hi, send me an e-mail.

KELLY BENNETT

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