Case-Shiller Tuesday: Smallest price drop in three years means little, economists say

The nation’s top 20 home markets experienced the smallest annual price drop in almost three years this January, according to today’s Standard & Poor’s / Case-Shiller Home Price Indices (PDF), but economists are already warning not to read too much into the data.

“It is only a matter of time before the index records a double-dip in prices,” economist Paul Dales tells the Associated Press. Home sales have dropped nationwide, and incentives like the federal home buyer tax credits will expire soon.

Standard & Poor’s Web site has been acting up all morning, meaning I can’t give you a breakdown of Chicago’s overall home market and condo market. According to Crain’s, home prices in Chicago fell 0.8 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from December to January, representing the second-biggest decline in the top 20 markets.

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