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Home Prices on Decline in US for Third-Straight Month, Says S&P

Tue Jan 31, 2012 on Blog

S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index for November 2011 (Courtesy:Standard’s and Poor)

Newly-released numbers from Standards and Poor’s showed home prices continuing to drop in November for the third straight month.Their home price index, which tracked both 10 and 20-city composites, showed prices going down an average of 1.3 percent in the cities they tracked.

Only Phoenix showed an increase in November, with Tampa, Atlanta, Las Vegas and Seattle all reaching new lows.  Atlanta in particular showed the biggest drop from October to November, going down 2.5%. That followed even bigger drops in previous months.

Miami, the only other Florida city that S&P tracks, was down only 0.5 percent in November.

“Despite continued low interest rates and better real GDP growth in  the fourth quarter, home prices continue to fall.” said  David M. Blitzer, S&P’s Chairman of the Index Committee.

Yet the price declines in all but 2 cities were on par with what happened in those cities in November 2010, with only Washington and Detroit showing over-the-year-increases.

The Case-Shiller index covers half of homes in the United States, measuring prices compared with those in January 2000, creating a three-month moving average.

The November data, released today, are the latest numbers released.

The Associated Press reports that home prices are likely to begin rising first in cities here in Florida, as well as Arizona, California, and Nevada, as conditions begin to improve for those who are able to buy a home.

However economists told the AP they believe a full housing recovery is still several years from taking shape, and prices could fall further if and when banks start to resume foreclosing on homes across the U.S.

While they didn’t directly attribute the decline to the amount of foreclosed properties being sold, it’s likely that number, while significantly lower than a year ago, continues to strain the market.

20% of US homes, and 19 percent of homes sold in Florida between July and September, almost 1 in 4, were foreclosed homes, according to RealtyTrac, with an average price tag of $111,618, the Palm Beach Post reported.

However that is a 20 percent drop from the 3rd quarter of 2010 here in Florida, when 39% of homes sold statewide were in foreclosure. 35% of all US homes in that quarter were distressed properties.