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Pace of Home Price Decline Slows

The pace of decline in U.S. home prices was not as severe in April as it was in March, according to the latest S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, which was released this morning. The index’s 10-city and 20-city composites declined 18.0 percent and 18.1 percent, respectively, in April compared to April 2008. Both indices had reported annual declines of 18.7 percent in March. The pace of declines has been improving since the indices hit record lows in January of 19.4 percent for the 10-city composite and 19.0 percent for the 20-city composite.

Of the 20 cities tracked by the index, 13 posted improvement on their annual return in April compared to March. “While one month’s data cannot determine if a turnaround has begun, it seems that some stabilization may be appearing in some of the regions,” says David M. Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at Standard & Poor’s. “We are entering the seasonally strong period in the housing market, so it will take some time to determine if a recovery is really here.”

The three best-performing metro areas in terms of year-over-year returns were Denver, Dallas and Boston, which posted annual declines of 4.9 percent, 5.0 percent and 7.7 percent, respectively. The worst-performing cities were Phoenix, down 35.3 percent, Las Vegas, down 32.2 percent and San Francisco, down 28.0 percent.

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