U.S. home prices fell nationwide in August for the eighth consecutive month, offering little hope of a turnaround anytime soon, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller index released Tuesday.
Things could get worse, said Yale economist Robert Shiller, who helped create the index.
“There is really no positive news in today’s report,” said Shiller, chief economist for MacroMarkets LLC, which collaborates with S&P on the indicator. “At both the national and metro area levels, the fall in home prices is showing no real signs of a slowdown or turnaround.”
Home prices as measured by the index have fallen by more every month since the beginning of the year. August is the 21st month of decelerating returns.
An index of 10 U.S. metropolitan areas fell 5 percent in August from a year ago. That was the biggest drop since June 1991. The lowest ever was a decline of 6.3 percent in April 1991.
A key barometer of consumer sentiment dropped to its lowest level in two years, igniting concern that the upcoming holiday shopping season would be lukewarm.
The New York-based Conference Board said Tuesday that its Consumer Confidence Index fell to 95.6 from a revised 99.5 in September. It was the lowest reading since 85.2 in October 2005 when gas and oil prices soared after hurricanes Katrina and Rita pummeled the Gulf Coast. Analysts had expected 99.5.
The report heightens worries for retailers, who are already bracing for a challenging holiday shopping season after a disappointing fall.