The 2011 numbers are in an homes in America lost another 4% of their value last year. Add the rate of inflation for 2011 to that and the number comes to 7.16%. If you are settling your divorce premised upon a recovery of housing prices it would appear that despite a horrid second and third quarter, equities was the place to be last year.

The Case Schiller data do not look specifically at Pennsylvania housing prices. But if you want to feel good try looking at the data reflecting how far markets have fallen from their peak. From worst to best:


Vegas                                   60+ percent decline in value

Phoenix                                55+

Miami                                    50

Detroit & Tampa                    46%

San Diego & San Francisco       40%

Atlanta, Chicago, Minneapolis, Seattle     34-35%

New York & Washington DC      25%

Charlotte                                        20%

Boston & Denver                      12-14%

Dallas                                             10


Lawyers are not economists.  But the concern about future home prices has a demographic dimension.  Young people graduating from school and entering the employment market are doing so with an unprecedented level of debt.  That debt is going to impact their ability to afford housing for many years to come. Our history since 1950 has been for a new generation of affluent young people to “buy” their parents generation out of larger and larger homes.  Those days may be behind us.