U.S. home prices fell in January to new lows, but prices declined at a slower rate compared to the previous month's decline, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices released Tuesday.
The 20-city composite index fell 3.8 percent compared to the prior year, matching a median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg. The 10-city composite index fell 3.9 percent. Prices are now 34.4 percent lower than the peak of the market in 2006.
Both composites were down 0.8 percent compared to the previous month.
“Despite some positive economic signs, home prices continued to drop, said David Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Indices.
However, the declines were slightly less than the prior month, when the 20-city composite index was down 3.9 percent and the 10-city index fell 4 percent.
There remains great pricing disparity between distressed and non-distressed properties in local markets, according to real estate experts. Foreclosures and short sales have pushed pricing down for certain properties, but some market-rate properties have recently seen modest price gains.
Sixteen of 19 major cities saw month-over-month prices fall. The only the gains occured in Washington, D.C., one of the nation's strongest housing markets, as well as Miami and Phoenix, where prices are rebounding after overdevelopment fueled a real estate crash.
Atlanta continued to be the weakest housing market in the country, dropping 14.8 percent compared to the previous year, the only double-digit price decline.
Due to delays, data for Charlotte, N.C. was not included in the report.