Home price index hits recession-era bottom in February

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A closely watched home price index of 20 metro areas in February fell to a low not seen since the throes of the recession.

The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller index for 20 major U.S. cities, released Tuesday, showed prices dropped 3.3% from February 2010 and 1.1% from January amid weak demand for abodes and as foreclosures and other so-called distressed properties made up a large part of the market.

The index is essentially at the same level it was in April 2009, the last time the index bottomed.

‘There is very little, if any, good news about housing. Prices continue to weaken, while trends in sales and construction are disappointing,’ said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at Standard & Poor’s.


Other than Washington, all of the major cities tracked by the index posted a year-over-year decline. Los Angeles was down 2.1%, San Diego fell 1.8% and San Francisco dropped 3.5%.

When left unadjusted for seasonal variations, nearly every city declined, with Los Angeles down 1%, San Diego down 1.3% and San Francisco falling 2.6%. Detroit was the only city that saw a gain, up 1%.

A recovery in housing prices seemed to be on track last year, but those gains were largely fueled by federal home-buying tax credits that expired last summer. Lackluster job growth and a steady supply of foreclosure properties are keeping home prices weak.


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-- Alejandro Lazo