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Home Prices Show Record Drop

The S&P/Case-Shiller Index drops 1.7% from the second quarter and 4.5% from a year ago.
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An index tracking national housing prices showed record declines for the third quarter as the real estate market continued to deteriorate in almost all metropolitan areas.

The S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index dropped 1.7% from the second quarter and 4.5% from last year's third quarter, Standard & Poor's said Tuesday. The index covers all nine U.S. census divisions.

The drop from the second quarter marks the largest sequential decline in the index's 21-year history, while the year-over-year fall was the second consecutive record low.

"Consistent with prior 2007 reports, there is no real positive news in today's data," said Robert Shiller, chief economist at MacroMarkets LLC and co-creator of the index. "Most of the metro areas continue to show declining or decelerating returns on both an annual and monthly basis."

In September, all the metropolitan areas tracked by the 20-city composite index showed price declines from August. Just five areas -- Atlanta; Charlotte; Dallas; Portland, Ore.; and Seattle -- saw flat or positive growth on a year-over-year basis.

The Tampa, Fla., metropolitan area again saw the biggest annual decline in September, at 11.1%. Miami followed with a 10% drop over the past 12 months.

The data are just the latest to show that the housing market

continues to worsen as the number of homes on the market swell and mortgage companies tighten lending standards. Last week, the National Association of Realtors reported that third-quarter existing-home sales slid 13.7% from a year earlier.

The NAR will report its October existing-home sales data on Wednesday.

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