U.S. Home Price Annual Growth Shrinking

Six cities reached new lows in home prices, including 'most expensive' zip codes

Annual growth in U.S. home prices slowed in October, Standard & Poor's S&P/Case-Shiller Home Prices Indices. Data released Tuesday shows deceleration in 18 of 20 metropolitan areas, as well as the 10- and 20-city composites.

The 10-city composite fell 1.2% from September to October, but is up 0.2% since October 2009. Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. also showed year-over-year gains. Those areas featured heavily in Forbes' list of most expensive zip codes in September, which found suburbs of Los Angeles and San Francisco had median home prices over $3 million. By comparison, home prices in New York, despite two different zip codes making Forbes' list, fell 1.7% from October 2009.

The 20-city composite fell 0.8% over the last 12 months, dropping 1.3% from September to October. Home prices in Atlanta, Charlotte, Miami, Portland, Ore., Seattle and Tampa, Fla. suffered their lowest levels since prices began to fall in 2006. Composite prices, though, have not fallen below their lowest levels in spring 2009.

David Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at Standard & Poor's, was pessimistic about the Indices findings.

"The double-dip is almost here, as six cities set new lows for the period since the 2006 peaks. There is no good news in October's report.  Home prices across the country continue to fall," he said in a press release.

"The tax incentives are over and the national economy remained lackluster in October, the month covered by these data. Existing homes sales and housing starts have been reported for both October and November, and neither is giving any sense of optimism," he added, noting that sales are down 25% on a year-over-year basis.

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