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U.S. Home Prices Drop 6.8 Percent in April as Foreclosures Rise

Brian Louis and Kathleen M. Howley
Bloomberg News [1]
Tuesday, June 23, 2009

June 23 (Bloomberg) — U.S. home prices fell 6.8 percent in April from a year earlier as rising unemployment and record foreclosures kept buyers out of the market.

Measured monthly, the average price fell 0.1 percent from March, the Federal Housing Finance Agency in Washington said today. The number was projected to drop 0.4 percent in April, according to the median forecast of 15 economists in a Bloomberg survey.

The housing slump has reduced the median price of an existing home 26 percent from the July 2006 peak, pushing affordability to near record levels. Prospective buyers are now being constrained by rising mortgage rates, the highest unemployment since 1983 and concern the housing rebound will be anemic.

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[2]

While U.S. builders increased housing starts by 17 percent in May to an annual rate of 532,000, a May 26 report from S&P/Case-Shiller showed home prices in 20 U.S. metropolitan areas fell 18.7 percent in March from the same month last year.

All signs point to further declines. Yale University Professor Robert Shiller, co-founder of the S&P/Case-Shiller index, said earlier this month that prices will continue to fall, contributing to a prolonged recession.

Deutsche Bank AG analysts last week said that U.S. home prices may fall another 14 percent before reaching a bottom as an increase in the jobless rate offsets lower prices. The worse declined may hit the New York and Orange County, California, metropolitan areas, analysts led by Karen Weaver said.  

Full story here. [1]