U.S. home prices remained essentially flat in March, showing
only incremental declines according to the latest Standard &
Poor's/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices.
Even so, that was enough to send prices to a new post-crash low,
with the Indices reaching their lowest levels since late 2002.
The S&P/Case Shiller index of home prices in 10 major U.S.
housing markets was down 0.1 percent from its February level, while
the broader index of 20 major cities remained unchanged.
On an annual basis, the 10- and 20-city indices were down 2.8
percent and 2.6 percent, respectively, from their March 2011
levels. Those were the smallest annual rates of decline reported in
nearly two years.
Most cities post monthly gains
Although there has been improvement in some parts of the
country, home prices overall have yet to turn the corner, according
to David Blitzer, chair of the S&P Index Committee.
"The regions showed mixed results for March," Blitzer said. "
Twelve of the cities saw average home prices rise in March over
February, seven saw prices fall and one - Las Vegas - was
After six consecutive months of price declines across most
cities in the indices, Blizter said the fact the indices showed
little change in March was "relatively good news."
Blitzer noted that only three cities in the survey - Atlanta,
Chicago and Detroit - showed worsening annual rates of change in
March, while the other 17 all improved. Seven of the 20 cities
showed price gains over one year ago.
"This is what we need for a sustained recovery; monthly
increases coupled with improving annual rates of change," Blizter
said. "Once we see this on a broader level we will be able to say
the market has turned around."
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