Home Prices At Lowest Level Since Bubble Burst - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Home Prices At Lowest Level Since Bubble Burst

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) - Home prices fell below the 2009 housing bust bottom in the first quarter, dropping 4.2% from the prior three months, according to an industry report released Tuesday.

Prices have not been this low in the S&P Case-Shiller national home price index since the middle of 2002.

It was the third straight quarterly drop for the index, which was down 5.1% from a year earlier. National prices are now down 32.7% from their peak set five years ago.

The S&P/Case-Shiller national home price index covers 80% of the housing market.

"This month's report is marked by the confirmation of a double-dip in home prices across much of the nation," said David Blitzer, spokesman for Standard and Poor's.

The housing market went through a brief recovery period starting in mid-2009. Home prices recovered nearly 5% of their earlier losses. After homebuyer tax credits, which were in effect during the rebound, expired last April, the slump resumed.

"The rebound in prices seen in 2009 and 2010 was largely due to the first-time home buyers tax credit," said Blitzer. "Excluding the results of that policy, there has been no recovery or even stabilization in home prices during or after the recent recession."

A separate S&P/Case-Shiller index covering 20 major cities also dropped during March, its eighth straight monthly decline.

This is the second month of the post-recession double dip for the 20-city index. Prices peaked in July 2006 and then fell steadily through April 2009. They then went on a winning streak that ran through last June and prices, adjusted for seasonal differences, have plunged every month since.

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