Although news on the home building front has been improving, the latest S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index is at its lowest level since 2003. The 20-city composite index for 2011 fell by -4%.
The S&P analyst put the news succinctly:
Up until today’s report we had believed the crisis lows for the composites were behind us, with the 10-City Composite originally hitting a low in April 2009 and the 20-City Composite in March 2011. Now it looks like neither was the case, as both hit new record lows in December 2011. The National Composite fell by 3.8% in the fourth quarter alone, and is down 33.8% from its 2nd quarter 2006 peak. It also recorded a new record low. … The pick-up in the economy has simply not been strong enough to keep home prices stabilized. If anything it looks like we might have reentered a period of decline as we begin 2012.
The report is available here.