Home prices fall to 2002 levels, report says

The Associated Press
NEW YORK – National home prices are at levels not seen since the 2002 Winter Olympics, but a closer look at a housing index released Tuesday shows real estate is indeed local with some prices in certain cities falling to pre-2000 values.
The Standard amp& Poor’s/Case-Shiller National Home Price index reported home prices tumbled by 19.1 percent in the first quarter, the most in its 21-year history. Home prices have fallen 32.2 percent since peaking in the second quarter of 2006.
But in cities across the country home prices varied dramatically, depending on affordability, foreclosure activity and the local economy. The bottom may be in sight in some markets, but nationally home values are expected to decline – though at a slower pace – for the rest of the year.
“By our estimation, the composite 20-city index is perhaps two-thirds of the way through its ultimate total decline in this cycle,” according to Joshua Shapiro, chief U.S. economist for MFR Inc.
Economists will get a look at April housing data today when the National Association of Realtors releases sales data for previously owned homes, and on Thursday when the Commerce Department puts out numbers for sales of newly built homes. Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters expect existing home sales to rise 2 percent from March to April, while new home sales are forecast to rise by 1.1 percent.

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