Home prices index tumbles


Published: Wednesday, October 1, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, September 30, 2008 at 10:50 p.m.

NEW YORK — A closely watched index released Tuesday showed home prices tumbling by the sharpest annual rate ever in July, and though the monthly rate of decline is slowing, there is no turnaround in sight.

The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city housing index fell a record 16.3 percent in July from the year-ago month, the largest drop since its inception in 2000.

The 10-city index plunged 17.5 percent, its biggest decline in its 21-year history.

Prices in the 20-city index have plummeted nearly 20 percent since peaking in July 2006.

The 10-city index has fallen more than 21 percent since its peak in June 2006.

No city in the Case-Shiller 20-city index saw annual price gains in July — for the fourth straight month.

However, the pace of monthly declines is slowing, a possible silver lining. Between May and July, for example, home prices fell at a cumulative rate of 2.2 percent — less than half the cumulative rate experienced between February and April.

But there’s “no evidence of a bottom,” said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P.

Only seven cities showed positive or flat returns from June to July, down from nine that showed month-over-month gains in June. Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Denver and Minneapolis all posted positive returns for three months or more.

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