Home prices reached fourth-quarter lows not seen since 2002, with the ""Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller Index"":http://www.standardandpoors.com/indices/sp-case-shiller-home-price-indices/en/us/?indexId=spusa-cashpidff--p-us yielding 3.8 percent in declines for December last year.[IMAGE]
The index found that prices fell 4 percent year-over-year, alongside 1.1 percent in month-over-month declines for 10- and 20-city composite measures.
Eighteen of 20 metropolitan areas monitored by S&P bore the brunt of monthly price declines, with figures up 0.2 percent and 0.8 percent for only Miami and Phoenix, respectively. Atlanta slouched into the negatives at 12.8 percent.
Detroit served up the only positive annual return at 0.5 percent[COLUMN_BREAK]
in December. Average home prices sagged to new lows for Atlanta, Las Vegas, Seattle, and Tampa.
""In terms of prices, the housing market ended 2011 on a very disappointing note,"" ""David Blitzer"":http://www.imn.org/pages/biography.cfm?personid=BLITZ10001, chairman of S&P Indices, said in a statement.
""With this month's report we saw all three composite hit new record lows,"" he said. ""While we thought we saw some signs of stabilization in the middle of 2011, it appears that neither the economy nor consumer confidence was strong enough to move the market in a positive direction as the year ended.""
""Paul Dales"":http://www.capitaleconomics.com/staff/global-economics/paul-dales.html, senior U.S. economist with consultancy ""Capital Economics"":http://www.capitaleconomics.com/, differed by saying the new lows suggest ""compelling reasons to believe that the end of the housing crash is finally in sight.""
He cites price declines at 34 percent below peak from last year and signs of strength from around the economy, including trends that show ""banks appear a little bit more willing to lend.""
The economy notably added 243,000 jobs in January, just as construction spending went up by 1.5 percent in December.
A ""Loan Officer Survey"":http://www.federalreserve.gov/boarddocs/snloansurvey/201201/fullreport.pdf conducted by the ""Federal Reserve"":http://www.federalreserve.gov/ muddied the trend by fielding mixed reviews for lending conditions, which respondents said had stayed the same from October.