The key S&P/Case-Shiller measure of home prices released Tuesday, May 25, showed a drop of 3.2% in the first quarter of 2010, with prices for 13 cities in the 20-city index down in March.
Although index levels remain above their year-earlier mark, the drop signaled that the housing market remained weak even though mortgage rates were nearing historic lows and home buyers were able to take advantage of a federal tax credit this spring.
“The housing market may be in better shape than this time last year, but when you look at recent trends, there are signs of some renewed weakening in home prices,” said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at Standard & Poor’s, in a statement. “In the past several months we have seen some relatively weak reports across many of the markets we cover.”
As of the first quarter of 2010, average home prices nationally are at similar levels to where they were in spring 2003. First-quarter values fell compared to the fourth quarter of 2009.
U.S. stocks stayed lower after the S&P/Case-Shiller index report came out, although traders were staying focused on the European debt crisis and tensions between North Korea and South Korea.