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Case-Shiller: Home Prices Back to 2003 Levels

The Case Shiller Home Price Indexes dropped to new index lows at the end of 2011, Standard & Poor’s, which compiles the indices, reported Tuesday morning.

The 10-city index dipped to 149.89, its lowest level of the year and the lowest level since June 2003. The broader 20-city index fell to 136.71, also a 2011 low and the lowest level since February 2003.

The national index – compiled quarterly – dropped to 125.67, its low for the year and the lowest level since the second quarter of 2002.

Prices in each of the monthly index reports fell for the fourth straight month. The price indexes hit a cyclical peak in mid-2010 coincident with the federal homebuyer tax credit program, but have fallen in 12 of the 17 months since with no gain in home sales. From mid-2010 until December 2011, existing home sales fell 16.7 percent, despite a price plunge.

Since peaking in June 2006, the 10-city index is down 48.1 percent and the 20-city index, which peaked one month later, is off 47.7 percent.

"While we thought we saw some signs of stabilization in the middle of 2011, it appears that neither the economy nor consumer confidence was strong enough to move the market in a positive direction as the year ended," said David Blitzer, chairman of S&P's index committee. "After a prior three years of accelerated decline, the past two years has been a story of a housing market that is bottoming out but has not yet stabilized."

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