Tuesday June 26, 9:33 am ET
By Vinnee Tong, AP Business Writer
S&P/Case-Shiller Index Says U.S. Home Prices Fell in April for 17th Consecutive Month
NEW YORK (AP) – U.S. home prices fell for the 17th month in a row with all regions showing the effect of the housing slowdown, according to a housing index released Tuesday by Standard & Poor’s.
For April, the S&P/Case-Shiller index that covers 10 U.S. cities fell 2.7 percent from a year ago. It was the steepest decline since 1991.
The S&P’s 20-city index showed a 2.1 percent drop in the price for sales of existing single-family homes across the U.S.
The April sales figures show that 14 of 20 cities reported prices had dropped or remained flat compared to 2006, S&P said.
“No region is immune to the weakening price returns,” MacroMarkets Chief Economist Robert Shiller said in a statement.
Boston, Detroit, Phoenix, San Diego and Washington, D.C., showed the greatest year-over-year declines in prices. Meanwhile, prices rose in Charlotte, N.C., Seattle and Portland, Ore., versus last year but those increases were moderating.
Four cities – Altanta, Boston, Dallas and Denver – reported price increases in April compared to March, although S&P said it needed a few more months to determine whether that is the beginning of a recovery in those markets.
Housing is watched by Federal Reserve governors as one of the most important indicators of overall economic health because of its pull on consumer spending and construction activity.
On May 9, Fed governors held the benchmark interest rate in place at 5.25 percent, keeping the prime interest rate used by commercial banks at 8.25 percent, which adds stability and is good for borrowers. The Fed meets again Wednesday and Thursday, with economists predicting the Fed will again keep rates the same.
The Fed last raised rates in June 2006.