South Florida No. 2 in the housing rebound


The latest Case-Shiller numbers show South Florida trailing Phoenix in rising home values. Having two of the country’s worst housing bubbles helps make the recovery look stronger.

South Florida enjoys the country’s second-best housing rebound this year.

That’s one result from the Economic Time Machine’s ranking of the latest figures from Case-Shiller, the top yardstick for the country’s housing crisis. Since January, South Florida’s Case-Shiller real estate index increased 5 percent. Only Phoenix had a better showing, with a 10 percent gain over five months. (The ETM used a two-month average to wash out monthly quirks in the Case-Shiller numbers.)

The ETM analysis also compared the May reading to peak levels for all 20 metropolitan areas that Case-Shiller tracks. The gap from the top of the market to now helps explain South Florida’s current rebound.

According to Case-Shiller, South Florida’s housing bubble continues to be one of the worst in the country. Values are off 48 percent in South Florida from peak levels set in 2006. That’s only slightly worse than Phoenix’s 51-percent drop, but considerably better than the ultimate bubble: Las Vegas, where values are down 61 percent.

Those three markets were seen as the most over-valued during the boom-boom days of condominiums. The deeper the hole, the steeper the climb out of it. Thus the strong bounce back in recent Case-Shiller reports.

But what about the overall market’s health beyond the boom and bust periods? South Florida finishes in the middle on that score. The ETM compared current Case-Shiller levels to where they were 10 years ago, in May 2002. South Florida real estate values have grown only 12 percent during that time period. That’s about on par with San Diego and Boston’s gains during the last decade. It’s also far behind the 40 percent surge Washington , DC., enjoyed, despite the housing crash.

Still, South Florida homeowners can take heart that real estate bought at the start of the last decade retained at least some value. (Let’s not ruin it and talk about the impact of inflation.)

And it could be far worse: Compared with 2002, Detroit housing prices are down 40 percent.

The Miami Herald’s Economic Time Machine tracks 60 local indicators in an effort to chart South Florida’s recovery from the Great Recession. By comparing current conditions to where they were before the downturn, the ETM attempts to measure how far back the recession set the economy. The answer so far: June 2003. Visit ETM headquarters at for the latest updates.

Read more The Economic Time Machine stories from the Miami Herald

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