Nation’s home prices continue to slide

Colorado ranks 23rd among the states, while our western neighbors top the list of best home appreciation rates in the nation.

From the Department of Finding Good News Wherever One Can:

A new federal Home Price Index report [PDF] lists Grand Junction, Colo., as the second best city in the nation for home appreciation rates at 9.1 percent annual growth from the first quarter of 2007 through the same time period in 2008. The national average is -0.03 for one-year growth.

No other Colorado cities made the top or bottom 20 ranking despite record foreclosure rates here as reported by our own J.C. O’Connell this spring.

Colorado, with a one-year appreciation rate of 2.29 percent, ranked firmly in the middle of the pack nationally at 23rd. Meanwhile our western neighbors, Wyoming (6.34 percent), Utah (5.58 percent) and Montana (4.91 percent), enjoyed the top three spots in the nation, respectively. Even, 11th place New Mexico (3.38 percent) and 19th place Idaho (2.55 percent) bested us.

Though three of our states topped the national rankings, the Mountain West is fourth out of nine regions — likely the result of prices bottoming out in #48 ranked Arizona which saw a -5.5 dip in home appreciation over the last year following an overheated 307 percent increase in home value since 1980. All the other Mountain West states were at or below the national 28-year average of 287.5 percent.

But the canary in the coal mine is singing her little heart out, as noted in the report’s first page:

Overall, U.S. home prices fell in the first quarter of 2008 according to OFHEO’s seasonally-adjusted purchase-only house price index. The index, which is based on data from home sales, was 1.7 percent lower on a seasonally-adjusted basis in the first quarter than in the fourth quarter of 2007.  This decline exceeded the 1.4 percent price decline between the third and fourth quarters of 2007 and is the largest quarterly price decline on record.  Over the past year, prices fell 3.1 percent between the first quarter of 2007 and the first quarter of 2008. This is the largest decline in the purchase-only index’s 17-year history. [Emphasis mine]