U.S. Home Prices Fall Fastest in at Least 8 Years

NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. home prices tumbled in April at the fastest rate since a widely-followed index was begun in 2000 with all 20 metropolitan areas posting annual declines for the first time.

The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home price index of 20 cities fell by 15.3 percent in April versus last year, according to Tuesday's report. Prices nationwide are at levels not seen since August 2004.

The narrower 10-city index declined 16.3 percent in April, its biggest decline in its more than two-decade history.

No city stayed above water. The last holdout, Charlotte, N.C., finally succumbed to the national housing downturn, with prices there slipping 0.1 percent year-over-year.

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Las Vegas and Miami both continue to post the largest declines, falling 26.8 percent and 26.7 percent, respectively.

However, the annual declines in Denver, Dallas and Cleveland were less severe than a month before, but Maureen Maitland, a S&P vice president, is reluctant to peg that as an indication of stabilization.

"We wouldn't call a trend on one-month data," she said.

The report also showed prices in eight metros increased in April over March, but the gains could be seasonal blips as the home-buying spring season starts up rather than a sign of a turnaround, Maitland said.

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