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U.S. housing market suffers another blow

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The U.S. housing market took another punch in the stomach today after the S&P/Case-Shiller composite index on Tuesday showed single family home prices fell for the seventh straight month in January. Maureen Maitland, vice-president of Index Management and Production at Standard & Poor's, tells BNN that analysts looking for a bottom in the U.S. housing market will be disappointed, as there is currently very little positive housing data.

“What we’re seeing, particularly over the last three or for months, is that all of the markets [in the index] seem to be turning back down and home prices are falling,” she says. “We thought we saw a bottom in 2009, but we’ve seen retrenchment in late 2010 and into this year.”

One reason for the renewed downturn in a number of regions is a major oversupply.

“There are just too many houses on the market for each person that wants to buy,” she says.

Michael Gapen, an economist at Barclays Capital, said in a research note on Tuesday that distressed sales accounted for 39 percent of existing home sales in February.

“We expect that home prices will continue to face headwinds from the large pipeline of foreclosures entering the market,” he said.

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