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Home Prices Fell For Eighth Straight Month In February, Survey Finds

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U.S. single-family home prices fell for an eighth straight month in February, inching closer to an April 2009 trough, a closely watched survey said on Tuesday.

The S&P/Case Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas declined 0.2 percent in February from January on a seasonally adjusted basis, slightly better than economists' median forecast for a drop of 0.3 percent.

The 20-city composite index was at 139.27, holding just a hair above its 2009 low of 139.26. Average home prices across the United States are back to levels where they were in the summer of 2003.

Prices in the 20 cities have fallen 3.3 percent year over year, in line with expectations.

"There is very little, if any, good news about housing. Prices continue to weaken, trends in sales and construction are disappointing," David Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Indices, said in a statement.

"Recent data on existing-home sales, housing starts, foreclosure activity and employment confirm that we are still in a slow recovery."

The glut of houses up for sale has kept prices low and the market has struggled to regain traction since a home buyer tax credit expired last spring.

Other data in the last week has suggested some stabilization in the market with sales of new and existing homes rising in March.

Financial markets were unchanged by the Case-Shiller data on Tuesday, with U.S. stock index futures pointing to a higher open with investors focused on earnings from major companies.

(Reporting by Leah Schnurr, Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

Copyright 2011 Thomson Reuters. Click for Restrictions.

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