Case-Shiller off Big in Q1

By Reuters Staff
May 27, 2008

Off the wires 10 minutes ago:

NEW YORK – A closely watched housing index shows U.S. home prices dropped at the sharpest rate in two decades during the first quarter.

if(window.yzq_d==null)window.yzq_d=new Object(); window.yzq_d[\\'Wj7ETELEYrg-\\']=\\’&U=13fg3skgv%2fN%3dWj7ETELEYrg-%2fC%3d621585.12711401.13018730.2577455%2fD%3dLREC%2fB%3d5367835%2fV%3d1\\’; Case-Shiller said Tuesday its U.S. National Home Price index fell 14.1 percent in the first quarter compared with a year earlier, the lowest since its inception in 1988.

Its narrower indices also set record declines. The 20-city index tumbled 14.4 percent during the quarter, the lowest since that index was started in 2001. The 10-city index plunged 15.3 percent, a record in its 20-year history.

“There are very few silver linings that one can see in the data. Most of the nation appears to remain on a downward path,” said David Blitzer, chairman of S&P’s index committee.

Yes, low interest rates can keep prices from falling as low as they otherwise might, but sky-high inventories will insure the trend stays negative for some time.

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