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Housing prices drop at fastest pace ever

/ Source: The Associated Press

Housing prices dropped in February at the fastest rate ever, a widely watched index showed on Tuesday, reflecting that the housing slump is gaining momentum and showing no signs of letting up.

The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller home price index of 20 cities fell by 12.7 percent in February versus last year, the largest decline since its inception in 2001. Seventeen of the 20 metro areas reported record annual declines.

“There is no sign of a bottom in the numbers,” David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P, noting that all 20 metro areas have declined for six straight months.

Half of the cities saw home values plunge by double digits led by Las Vegas at 22.8 percent and Miami at 21.7 percent. Those two areas experienced the sharpest appreciation in 2004 and 2005 with annual increases above 50 percent and 30 percent.

Only Charlotte, N.C., posted a positive return of 1.5 percent year-over-year.

The narrower 10-city index declined 13.6 percent in February, a record drop in its two-decade history.