US house prices tumble by record amount

US home prices had a record fall in the year to August, with little indication of a turnaround in sight.

The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city housing index dropped by 16.6% the largest drop since it began in 2000. The 10-city index plunged 17.7%, the biggest decline in its 21-year history.

Both indices have recorded year-over-year declines for 20 consecutive months.

Prices in the 20-city index have plummeted more than 20% since peaking in July 2006. The 10-city index has fallen nearly 22% since its peak in June 2006.

Nowhere in the 20-city index saw annual price gains in August – for the fifth straight month.

However, the pace of monthly declines did moderate last month from July, and Boston and Cleveland showed monthly gains from July to August.

Boston, the first city to record price falls in the 20-city index starting in October 2005, has recorded five straight monthly gains in home values.

But on the other hand, Dallas and Denver both showed negative returns in August after four consecutive months of increases.

Price declines in Las Vegas and Phoenix surpassed 30% in August, according to Case-Shiller, while prices in Miami, Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego all plunged more than 25%.

Home prices are unlikely to improve in the September figures as other key housing indicators have shown the housing slump still in full swing.

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