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Case-Shiller Index Shows Marked Decline in Home Prices


The latest Case-Shiller Index of home prices nationwide shows prices fell in March much lower than industy watchers had predicted to the lowest point since the economic downturn began. The report, released this week, shows that the index for the 20 large cities in the survey fell 0.8 percent from the February level, down for the eight straight months and more than 33 percent from their peak in the summer of 2006.

The survey also showed the percentage of homeowners dropped sharply, to 66.4 percent, from a peak of 69.2 percent in 2004. The New York Times reported the ownership rate is now back to the level of 1998, and some housing experts say it could decline to the level of the 1980s or even earlier. After their peak in 2006, prices fell sharply in late 2006, 2007 and 2008. The market turned around in 2009, the Times said, prompting new hope and a government tax credit on home sales hiked prices and sales, but declines resumed after the tax credit expired a year ago.


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