The Economic Time Machine

Housing bust damage to last through 2019

The housing market’s rebound continues to gain momentum. And the boom days remain far out of reach.

South Florida’s Case-Shiller real estate index increased for the 14th straight month in January, extending the streak to include the years of 2011, 2012 and 2013. The yearly increase of 10.8 percent is the highest since August 2006, when values shot up 12.7 percent from 12 months earlier.

This chart looks at the Case-Shiller index for the last 20 years. One thing jumps out: that dreaded double-dip in the housing bust really did materialize during the summer of 2010. If the improving trend had continued then, we’d now be in the fourth year of recovery. But values soon went looking for a new bottom.

Monday’s report from the closely watched (and once-feared) Case-Shiller index showed South Florida joined the country’s 19 other major real estate markets to show gains in January. In prior months, scattered markets hadn’t shown recovery.

And while the latest numbers continue to look good for homeowners — and perhaps motivating for would-buyers sitting on the fence — the long view continues to show a stunning collapse in what was once among the hottest real estate markets in the world.

According to Case-Shiller, South Flroida real estate values are down 45 percent from a peak set in May 2006. If values continue to grow at the current pace of about .8 percent month, it will take six more years to erase the losses caused by the housing crash, according to our projections. By our math, the Case-Shiller index is on track to hit a new record in April 2019.

The Miami Herald’s Economic Time Machine blog seeks to put South Florida’s recovery into historical perspective. We try to take the long view on economic stats. For analysis of the latest economic news, visit and look for our weekly chart on Page 3 of Business Monday.