US Feb home prices fall, 1st annual rise in 3 yrs

NEW YORK, April 27 (BestGrowthStock) – Prices of U.S. single-family
homes fell in February on a monthly basis but posted the first
annual increase in more than three years, Standard &
Poor’s/Case Shiller home price indexes showed on Tuesday.

The report suggests more price erosion is possible before
prices start rising on a sustained basis, S&P said. The price
improvement can be attributed to momentum from the federal
homebuyer tax credits, which expire on April 30, and prices
could be pressured further by foreclosure sales.

The S&P composite index of 20 metropolitan areas declined
0.1 percent in February on a seasonally adjusted basis,
matching the forecast in a Reuters survey, after rising for
eight straight months.

On an unadjusted basis, prices dropped 0.9 percent in
February, worse than the estimated 0.3 percent decline and
following a 0.4 percent downturn in January.

The home price indexes, for both 10-cities and 20-cities,
showed the first annual upturn since December 2006, rising 1.4
percent and 0.6 percent respectively. The annual rise in the
20-city index, however, was half of the 1.2 percent increase
forecast in a Reuters poll.

“These data point to a risk that home prices could decline
further before experiencing any sustained gains,” David M.
Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P, said in a
statement.

“While the year-over-year data continued to improve for 18
of the 20 Metropolitan Statistical Areas and the two
Composites, this simply confirms that the pace of decline is
less severe than a year ago,” he said. “It is too early to say
that the housing market is recovering.”

Investment
(Reporting by Lynn Adler, Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

US Feb home prices fall, 1st annual rise in 3 yrs