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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Home prices fell 3.9% in the fourth quarter of 2010, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index.

The

index

also was down 4.1% vs. the fourth quarter of 2009, making it the lowest annual growth rate since the thirdquarter of 2009, when prices were dropping at an 8.6% annual rate.

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Eighteen of the 20 metropolitan regions covered by the index saw prices fall. Only San Diego and Washington, D.C., saw an increase -- 1.7% and 4.1%, respectively.

"We ended 2010 with a weak report," says David M. Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at Standard & Poor's. "The National Index is down 4.1% from the fourth quarter of 2009and 18 of 20 cities are down over the last 12 months. Both monthly Composites and the National Indexare moving closer to their 2009 troughs. The National Index is within a percentage point of the low it setin the first quarter of 2009. Despite improvements in the overall economy, housing continues to driftlower and weaker.

"Unlike the 2006 to 2009 period when all cities saw prices move together, we see some differing storiesaround the country. California is doing better with gains from their low points in Los Angeles, San Diegoand San Francisco. At the other end is the Sun Belt - Las Vegas, Miami, Phoenix and Tampa. All fourmade new lows in December. Also seeing renewed weakness are some cities that were among the last toreach their peaks including Atlanta, Charlotte, Portland OR and Seattle, where news lows were also seen.Dallas, which peaked late, has so far stayed above its low marked in February 2009."

This article was written by a staff member of TheStreet.