Today’s numbers from the S&P/Case-Shiller House Price Index mostly confirm what everyone already knows—house prices are well up from the trough just about everywhere, but still way down from where they were at the peak of the bubble. But if you delve into the individual metropolitan areas, I think that what you largely see is the return of the United States as a series of separate regional housing markets. There are even two metropolitan areas in the sample—the Denver area and the Dallas area—where prices are now at an all-time high, poking slightly above their pre-crisis peaks.
What’s of further interest is that the trends don’t look the same. Denver shows the same 1995–05 pattern of rapid price increases that were typical of the nation as a whole. But instead of the bubble popping, Denver area prices really just stagnated. They fell a little during the recession years and then went on a modest uptick. Now it’s a new high.
In Dallas, by contrast, it’s like there just never was a boom and bust. Prices have just been bouncing around with an ever-so-slight upward bias for a decade.