Posted - 02/22/2011 : 09:12:22
Home Prices Continue Swoon as Double-Dip Fear Persists
Published: Tuesday, 22 Feb 2011 | 9:37 AM ET Text Size By: Reuters
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U.S. single-family home prices fell for the sixth month in a row in December, bringing them closer to the low seen in 2009, a closely watched survey said Tuesday.
The S&P/Case Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas declined 0.4 percent in December from November on a seasonally adjusted basis. The figure was in line with analysts' expectations.
For the year 2010, prices fell 2.4 percent, slightly more than the 2.3 percent decline analysts had forecast.
"Despite improvements in the overall economy, housing continues to drift lower and weaker," David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P, said in a statement.
While the composite held above its 2009 low, 11 cities hit their lowest levels since home prices peaked in 2006 and 2007, the report showed.
The numbers heightened worries that the housing market has entered a double-dip and could remain mired for months to come.
"I think the price may go down substantially," Robert Shiller, Yale University professor of economics who helps formulate the study, said on CNBC.
Unadjusted for seasonal impact, home prices fell 1 percent for the month, leaving them just 2.3 percent above their April 2009 troughs, S&P said.
"The more accurate picture might be that we got down to the bottom in mid-2009 and we stopped there and we're still there," Blitzer said in a CNBC interview. "Maybe we'll still be there for quite some time."
Eighteen of the 20 cities showed annual price declines in December and 19 out of 20 saw monthly price drops.
During the fourth quarter, home prices declined 3.9 percent from the previous quarter and were down 4.1 percent compared to the fourth quarter 2009
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