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U.S. December home prices slip

The S&P/Case Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas declined 0.4 percent in December from November on a seasonally adjusted basis. The figure was in line with analysts' expectations.
   
During the fourth quarter, home prices declined 3.9 percent from the previous quarter and were down 4.1 percent compared to the fourth quarter 2009.

"Despite improvements in the overall economy, housing continues to drift lower and weaker," David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P, said in a statement.

While the composite held above its 2009 low, 11 cities hit their lowest levels since home prices peaked in 2006 and 2007, the report showed.
   
Unadjusted for seasonal impact, home prices fell 1 percent for the month, leaving them just 2.3 percent above their April 2009 troughs, S&P said.
   
Eighteen of the 20 cities showed annual price declines in December and 19 out of 20 saw monthly price drops.

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