Wednesday, December 31, 2008

No end in sight for US property slump as prices fall at record rate

Larry Elliott, economics editor The Guardian, Wednesday 31 December 2008

House prices in 20 big US cities fell at their fastest rate on record in the year to October as rising unemployment, rationed credit and a glut of foreclosed properties led to fresh weakness in the market, according to a report released yesterday.
After falling every month since January 2007, the closely watched S&P/Case Shiller index of property prices declined 2.2% in October, leaving them 18% down on a year earlier. Six cities - Charlotte, Washington, Minneapolis, Tampa, Detroit and Atlanta - saw record monthly falls, while the biggest annual declines were in Phoenix and Las Vegas, where prices fell by a third.
David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at Standard & Poor's, said: "The bear market continues; home prices are back to their March 2004 levels."


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