...yet American house prices fall

Prices of US homes plummeted in the first quarter of the year, the Federal Housing Finance Agency said yesterday. Prices were down 2.5 per cent compared to the final three months of 2010, and 5.5 per cent lower than the same time last year. Yet the fall in March (0.3 per cent) was less severe than expected, providing some relief to analysts. “The index had recorded monthly declines of greater than one per cent for previous months,” noted Michael Gapen, a US economist with Barclays Capital.