Standard and Poor's released its report on home prices in the month of January on Tuesday, with the report showing continued broad based declines in the prices of existing single family homes.

The report showed that the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Home Price Index for January fell 19.0 percent compared to the same month a year ago, reflecting an acceleration from a revised 18.6 percent year-over-year decline in December.

Economists had been expecting the 20-city home price index to show an 18.5 percent year-over-year decline, which would have been unchanged from the drop originally reported for December.

With the acceleration, the 20-city home price index fell at its fastest annual rate on record, although year-over-year data for the index only dates back to January of 2001.

Standard and Poor's noted that 13 of the 20 metro areas showed record annual rates of decline, with 14 reporting declines in excess of 10 percent.

There are very few bright spots that one can see in the data, said David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index committee at Standard & Poor's. Most of the nation appears to remain on a downward path, with all of the 20 metro areas reporting annual declines.

Standard and Poor's added that the worst performing cities continue to be from the Sunbelt, with Phoenix seeing a 35.0 percent annual decline, while Las Vegas and San Francisco saw prices fall 32.5 percent and 32.4 percent, respectively.

Dallas, Denver and Cleveland reported the smallest annual declines, with prices falling 4.9 percent, 5.1 percent and 5.2 percent, respectively.

The monthly data also showed a continued downtrend in prices, with both the 10-city and 20-city composite indexes showing thirty consecutive months of negative returns.

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