Tuesday, March 31, 2009

US housing price freefall extends into January

Posted by: Sarah Reilly
Originally Posted by: Simone Baribeau

Single-family home prices in the 20 largest metropolitan areas dropped 2.8 per cent in January, according to Case-Shiller’s index of the 20 largest US cities, another sign that the housing market bottom may still be distant.

Nationwide home prices are down 19 per cent on the year, the largest fall since the index started in 2000. Home prices in the 10 largest metropolitan areas dropped 2.5 per cent in January, leaving them more than 30 per cent below their peak in mid-2006. Prices, which rose at roughly the rate of inflation over the first 13 years of the index, grew more than 90 per cent in real terms between 2000 and the market’s peak.

Though prices were decline faster than ever, a faint glimmer of hope can be seen in the decreasing speed of the rate of decline, said Robert Shiller, co-creator of the index and professor of economics at Yale University. But, he added, “I don’t read too much into it yet.

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