House prices still falling in US

March 30th, 2011 - 11:22 am ICT by IANS  

New York, March 30 (IANS/EFE) Prices of single-family homes in the 20 largest US metropolitan areas fell 3.1 percent in January compared with January 2010, the sixth consecutive monthly decline, Standard & Poor’s said Tuesday.

The January data “bring us weakening home prices with no real hope in sight for the near future”, David Blitzer, chairman of the S&P;/Case-Shiller Home Price Indexes, said in a statement accompanying the figures.

While the 10-City Composite index showed a smaller drop, 2 percent, 11 of the metro areas covered by the 20-City Composite registered the lowest prices since the index was started.

“At worst, the feared double-dip recession may be materialising,” Blitzer said, citing recent discouraging figures on new-home starts and sales.

Home prices in the 10 largest US cities are now 2.8 percent lower than in April 2009, a few months before the official end of the recession, and are approaching pre-bubble levels, he said.

Prices in the 20 biggest US metro areas are down more than 31 percent since peaking in the third quarter of 2006.

Sales of new homes fell 16.9 percent last month compared with January and by a whopping 28 percent from the level of February 2010, the US Commerce Department said last week.

While the National Association of Realtors reported the inventory of unsold existing homes rose 3.5 percent to 3.49 million in February, meaning that 8.6 months would be required to sell those properties if purchases continue at the current pace.

–IANS/EFE
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