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) -- Home prices in the U.S. declined 0.3% in March, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency's house price index.

The FHFA revised its February house price index reading to a decline of 1.5% from an originally reported 1.6% decline.

The HPI was 2.5% lower in the first quarter of the year compared with the fourth quarter of 2010 and was 5.5% lower year-over-year.

"In many local real estate markets, particularly those hit hard by this cycle, foreclosures and other distressed properties are still a key factor in recorded and anticipated future sales and may be delaying price stability or recovery," said Edward J. DeMarco, acting FHFA director. He added that serious delinquency rates are declining.

Of the nine Census Divisions, the Mountain Division suffered the largest decline, a price drop of 2.4%. The West South Central Division enjoyed the strongest prices, which still declined 0.5 percent.


Written by Joe Deaux in New York.

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