The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home-price index of 20 cities saw the steepest decline in the 20-year history of the index.
NEW YORK — Home prices in many cities continued to plunge by record levels in January as sellers cut their asking bids and rising foreclosures took their toll, new data showed today.
U.S. home prices fell 10.7 percent in January from the same month last year, according to the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller home-price index of 20 cities, which saw the steepest decline in the two-decade history of the index.
Seattle-area home prices were among the decliners, although the annual drop was a slight 1.3 percent. Only Portland, Ore., posted a smaller annual decline, 0.5 percent.
Worst hit were Las Vegas and Miami, both reporting 19.3 percent drops, as the regions are still paying the price for rampant speculation and overbuilding during the boom years. Those cities and 14 others — including Phoenix, San Diego and Detroit — posted record lows.
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“I wouldn’t be looking for a pattern of improvement until April, May or June,” said Brian Bethune, Global Insight’s chief U.S. economist.
Only Charlotte, N.C., squeaked by as a gainer in the Case-Shiller index, with a 1.8 percent increase in January compared with a year earlier.
But the overall downbeat figures come on the heels of data released Monday showing that the median price of existing homes sold in February fell in the largest year-over-year drop since at least 1999.
“Home prices continue to fall, decelerate and reach record lows across the nation,” said David Blitzer, index committee chairman at S&P. “No markets seem to be completely immune from the housing crisis.”
All 20 cities S&P tracks have seen falling prices for five consecutive months when compared with the previous month’s prices, Blitzer said. What’s more, the declines are growing in severity, with 13 of the 20 cities reporting their biggest single monthly decline in January.
Seattle’s prices dropped 1.8 percent from December to January, the same percentage change as Atlanta and Dallas. The highest one-month loser was Las Vegas, which saw prices tumble 5.1 percent.
Pava Leyrer, president of Heritage National Mortgage in Detroit, said the tightening of loan standards has compounded the problems of too much inventory, foreclosures and worries over the economy.
“It’s just a spiral that will end up taking this year to get out of,” Leyrer said.
While the vast majority of homes in the U.S. are not in danger of foreclosure, the housing slump has raised concerns about a recession and has had ripple effects across the economy as consumers spend less in other areas and banks tighten lending requirements.
A narrower survey, released separately today by the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight said home prices fell 3 percent in January from the same month last year and fell 1.1 percent from December. The declines were sharpest in New England. The monthly OFHEO index is down 4.1 percent since its peak last April.
AP business writer Dan Caterinicchia in Washington, D.C. contributed to this report.