UPDATE 2-U.S. Oct home prices down for 4th straight month

* U.S. home prices fall 1 pct in October from September

* Prices fell 0.8 pct annually, first drop since Jan

* Housing “double dip is almost here,” Case-Shiller says

* 16/20 cities posted yearly drop, 20 down from September
(Adds analyst comment, background)

By Corbett B. Daly

WASHINGTON, Dec 28 (BestGrowthStock) – U.S. single-family home
prices fell for a fourth straight month in October pressured by
a supply glut, home foreclosures and high unemployment, data
from a closely watched survey showed on Tuesday.

The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller composite index of 20
metropolitan areas declined 1 percent in October from September
on a seasonally adjusted basis, a much steeper drop than the
0.6 percent fall expected by economists.

The decline built on a revised decrease of 1 percent in
September and took prices down 0.8 percent from year-ago
levels. It was the first year-on-year drop in the index since
January.

The housing market has been struggling since home-buyer tax
credits expired earlier this year. To take advantage of the tax
credits, buyers had to sign purchase contracts by April 30.

“The housing market had been heavily supported by the
$8,000 first-time home-buyer tax credit and now, in absence of
that credit, the market is paying back the demand that had been
borrowed forward,” said Thomas Simons, an economist at
Jefferies & Company in New York.

The U.S. unemployment rate rose to 9.8 percent in November,
while the number of foreclosures is expected to top a million
in 2010.

Sixteen of the 20 cities showed annual price declines in
October and all 20 cities showed monthly price drops.

“The (housing) double dip is almost here, as six cities set
new lows for the period since 2006 peaks. There is no good news
in October’s report,” said David Blitzer, chairman of the index
committee at S&P.

Unadjusted for seasonal impact, the 20-city index fell 1.3
percent in October after a 0.8 percent decline in September.

Financial markets largely shrugged on the news, as the data
shows additional detail for October home prices, which have
been reported from other sources.
(Reporting by Corbett B. Daly; editing by Neil Stempleman)

UPDATE 2-U.S. Oct home prices down for 4th straight month