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U.S. Home Prices Fall 12/27/2011
U.S. home prices fell in most major cities for the second straight month, further evidence that the housing recovery will be bumpy.

Numbers released today showed prices dropped in October from September in 19 of the 20 cities tracked.

Prices in a majority of cities declined for the second straight month, reflecting the typically fall slowdown after the peak buying season. Prior to that, prices had risen for five consecutive months in at least half of the cities tracked.
 
AtlantaDetroit and Minneapolis posted the biggest monthly declines. Prices in Atlanta and Las Vegas fell to their lowest points since the housing crisis began. Prices rose in Phoenixafter three straight monthly declines.
 
Americans are reluctant to purchase a home more than two years after the recession officially ended. High unemployment and weak job growth have deterred many would-be buyers. Even the lowest mortgage rates in history haven't been enough to lift sales.
Some people can't qualify for loans or meet higher down payment requirements. Many with good credit and stable jobs are holding off because they fear that prices will keep falling.
 
Sales of previously occupied homes are barely ahead of 2008's dismal figures — the worst in 13 years. And sales of new homes this year will likely be the worst since the government began keeping records a half century ago.
Prices are also certain to fall further once banks resume millions of foreclosures. They have been delayed because of a yearlong government investigation into mortgage lending practices.
 
Foreclosures and short sales — when a lender accepts less for a home than what is owed on a mortgage — are selling at an average discount of 20 percent.


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