US home prices fall for sixth straight month

City A.M. Reporter
US single-family home prices fell for the sixth month in a row in December, bringing them closer to the low seen in 2009, a closely watched survey has found.

The S&P/Case Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas declined 0.4 per cent in December from November on a seasonally adjusted basis. The figure was in line with analysts' expectations.

For the year 2010, prices fell 2.4 per cent, slightly more than the 2.3 per cent analysts had forecast.

"Despite improvements in the overall economy, housing continues to drift lower and weaker," David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P, said in a statement.

While the composite held above its 2009 low, 11 cities hit their lowest levels since home prices peaked in 2006 and 2007, the report showed.

Unadjusted for seasonal impact, home prices fell 1 percent for the month, leaving them just 2.3 per cent above their April 2009 troughs, S&P said.

Eighteen of the 20 cities showed annual price declines in December and 19 out of 20 saw monthly price drops.

During the fourth quarter, home prices declined 3.9 per cent from the previous quarter and were down 4.1 per cent compared to the fourth quarter 2009.