March 31, 2009

Home prices dropped sharply in December

U.S. home prices dropped 2.8 percent in December from the previous month and 19 percent from a year earlier, a closely watched home index report said.

The S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index said prices fell in its 20-city home price survey for the 30th consecutive month, reported Tuesday.

The price declines in December were record declines for both monthly and annual percentages.

There are very few bright spots that one can see in the data, said index committee Chairman David Blitzer.

Most of the nation appears to remain on a downward path, with all of the 20 metro areas reporting annual declines, and nine of the MSAs (metropolitan statistical areas) falling more than 20 percent in the last year.

From a peak in 2006, national home prices have fallen 29.1 percent. The farthest decline has been in Phoenix, where prices have dropped 35 percent in the past year. In Las Vegas, prices are down 32.5 percent from a year ago.