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Standard & Poor’s released a 2008 recap of its Case-Shiller home price index this morning, kicking it off with a grim summary of what the data mean:

All housing statistics tell the same story — the housing market has been in a two-year recession and the turnaround has not yet materialized.

Of course, in San Diego, the downturn has lasted longer than two years, as prices here peaked in late 2005. The report looks at the places where the run-up in prices was most dramatic, and where the downturn has been pronounced.

The area traditionally defined as the Sun Belt — Arizona, California, Florida and Nevada — clearly had both the largest run-up in prices since 2000 and has been the hardest hit in the downturn. …

While the declines in these markets are quite large, the increases in prices in the 2004-2006 time period were equally dramatic.

Las Vegas home prices were up 53.2 percent in 2004 compared to the year before. Phoenix ascended 49.3. L.A., Miami, San Diego, San Francisco and Tampa were booming by more than 30 percent, the report points out.

The Case-Shiller index economists don’t forecast. But the report tapped the index’s parent company, Standard & Poor’s, for a prediction for the future from S&P chief economist David Wyss. Wyss predicted the declines in the number of housing projects starting construction and sales for homes to bottom in the next few months but to “remain soft throughout 2009.”

His teams’ view on prices is for a further decline from the current levels, bottoming in the 1st quarter of 2010, and bringing the peak-to-trough decline to roughly 33%.

The national index has already posted a 21 percent decline from the peak, through the third quarter of last year.

Here’s my story on the most recent release of the Case-Shiller numbers for San Diego, which showed the local market down 36.4 percent from its peak in November 2005. We’ll get the November numbers for the index at the end of this month

KELLY BENNETT

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