The country's housing market continues to reel, data shows.
The real estate sector looked poised to pick up earlier this year, when thousands of people jumped into the market to take advantage of a tax credit extended to homebuyers. But when that credit expired in April, home sales plummeted – and price declines followed.
In the third quarter, the situation only worsened. According to Standard & Poor's, which publishes the widely watched Case-Shiller price index, home prices fell across the country by 1.5 percent in year-over-year terms and 2 percent on a sequential basis.
Even the country's 20 largest markets – which recorded annual price appreciation of 0.6 percent in the third quarter – are lagging: S&P says September was the fourth straight month in which price gains slowed in its 20-city composite index.
Freddie Mac – the government-backed mortgage purchaser – corroborated S&P's findings on Tuesday, reporting that prices dropped 1.9 percent between the second and third quarters. A slowdown in sales was largely to blame, Freddie deputy chief economist Amy Crews Cutts noted.
"Although sales rose in August and September, the net decline over the quarter was still large," she said. "We're now seeing the effect of the sales slow-down in home purchase prices."