Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Home prices fall at fastest rate in 16 years

S&P/Case-Shiller index shows prices down annualized 2.7%

WASHINGTON (Market Watch) -- Home prices in 10 major U.S. cities dropped at the fastest pace in 16 years during the 12 months ending in April, according to Standard & Poor's Case-Shiller home price index released Tuesday.

Home prices in the 10 cities fell 2.7% on a year-over-year basis, the largest decline since September 1991. Meanwhile, prices in 20 cities dropped a record 2.1% year over year.

Fourteen of the 20 cities showed falling prices in the past year, led by Detroit (down 9.3%), San Diego (down 6.7%) and Washington (down 5.7%).

"No region is immune to weakening price returns," said Robert Shiller, chief economist for MacroMarkets LLC and the co-creator of the index. Even in regions such as the Pacific Northwest or the Southeast, where prices are still rising, the gains have been slowing.

As a result of falling prices, foreclosures are rising nationally, especially in regions with a weak economy, such as the Midwest, and in Sun Belt areas deemed bubble regions, such as Southern California, Florida, Nevada and Arizona.

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