Top 10 cities where home prices have improved most (or fallen least) in the past year
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San Francisco (+4.8%): The metropolitan area fared better than most of the nation, seeing nearly a 5 percent home price increase in December compared to the same month in 2008. But local prices stayed essentially flat between October and December 2009, meaning that price momentum generated during 2009 began to stall in the year's later months.
-- San Francisco Chronicle Robert Galbraith/Reuters/File
Dallas (+3.0%): Dallas-area home prices moved solidly higher in the latest measure of the country's housing market. Dallas' December home prices increased by 3 percent from a year earlier in the monthly Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller Home Price Index.
-- Dallas Morning News LM Otero/AP/File
San Diego (+2.7%): San Diego fared very well in the most recent Case-Shiller home price index report released this morning. It was one of only four metropolitan areas, out of the 20 that are followed in the index, to report an increase in prices for the month of December as well as all of 2009, with prices here rising 2.7 percent.
-- San Diego Source, The Daily Transcript AP/File
Washington (+1.9%): Of all 20 cities tracked by the S&P/Case-Shiller index, the nation's capital has the distinction of seeing the highest appreciation since 2000. Sure, the recession has cut prices by nearly a third since the peak of the housing boom. But prices in 2009 actually increased 1.9 percent. And if you had bought a home in 2000, it would be worth nearly 80 percent more today -- an appreciation that's better than New York or Los Angeles. Saul Loeb/AFP/Newscom/File
Denver (+1.2%): Denver was one of just six cities that showed a year-over-year increase in prices. Denver-area home prices rose 1.2 percent between December 2009 and the same month of 2008. That followed a 0.5 percent year-over-year increase in November.
-- Denver Business Journal Ann Hermes/Staff/File
Boston (+0.5%): The metro area is one of the few tracked by the Case-Shiller index that has seen relatively little fallout from the housing bust. Prices are down just 14 percent from the peak. And for 2009, prices climbed just a hair -- 0.5 percent -- making Boston one of only six cities to see home values rise in 2009. Sarah Beth Glicksteen/Staff/File
Los Angeles (+0.0%): Los Angeles gained 1% in December, compared with a month earlier, more than any of the other 20 cities in the index. Prices there were flat year-over-year. -- CNNMoney.com Melanie Stetson Freeman/Staff/File
Cleveland (-1.2%): The Cleveland area held up slightly better last year, with its index posting a decline of only 1.2 percent from December 2008 to December 2009. Seven cities outranked Cleveland, and San Francisco topped the 20-city list with a 4.8 percent annual increase in its price index. The worst-performing city was Las Vegas, with an annual decline of 20.6 percent.
-- Cleveland Plain Dealer Newscom/File
Minneapolis (-2.3%): Twin Cities home prices declined slightly in December versus the previous month, but still showed signs of being more recovered than they were earlier in the year. Prices were 2.3 percent less than December 2008 levels, but even that decline is an improvement over earlier in the year, when year-over-year losses involved double-digit percentages.
-- Twin Cities Business Journal Ann Hermes/Staff/File
Charlotte, N.C. (-3.8%): Charlotte-area home prices ended last year at a new low for this downturn but with a smaller decline than the previous year, based on a closely watched index released today.
As of December, area prices had fallen 3.8 percent compared with December 2008, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index. That’s an improvement over 2008, when Charlotte prices first turned negative, and the market saw a 7.2 percent decline, but still below the national decline of 2.5 percent for last year.
Russia's petroleum-dependent economy is facing a perfect storm of bad news, brought on plunging global crude prices and an ever-tightening set of Western sanctions imposed over the Kremlin's Ukraine policy. The Kremlin, which failed to diversify the economy fast enough during the fat years, now faces the urgent task of carrying out painful economic restructuring and public belt-tightening at the same time. If it doesn't, it risks losing the political and social stability that have been the hallmarks of the Vladimir Putin era.