LOS ANGELES -- Home prices in January remained barely above lows hit during the worst of the recession, according to an index that tracks prices in America's biggest cities, and many analysts said they expected values to fall further as the housing downturn plumbs new depths.
The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller index for 20 major U.S. cities, released Tuesday, showed prices dropped 3.1 percent from January 2010 and 1 percent from December as demand for homes remained weak and distressed properties -- foreclosures and short sales -- remained a large part of the market.
"Keeping with the trends set in late 2010, January brings us weakening home prices with no real hope in sight for the near future," said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at Standard & Poor's. "The housing market recession is not yet over, and none of the statistics are indicating any form of sustained recovery."
The 20-city index is 1.1 percent above the low it hit in April 2009. A second index, tracking prices in 10 major cities, remained 2.8 percent above its April 2009 bottom. Many economists expect these widely watched indexes to dip below those previous benchmarks this year, marking a double dip in housing values as defined by Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller.
"The double-dip should happen by June," Patrick Newport, U.S. economist with IHS Global Insight, wrote in a note Tuesday. "Going forward, weak demand, foreclosures and a glut of homes for sale should translate into at least another 5 percent drop in the Case-Shiller composite indices."
Other than San Diego and Washington, all of the major cities tracked by the index posted year-over-year declines. San Diego was up 0.1 percent and Washington rose 3.6 percent.
On a month-over-month basis, every city but Washington declined when left unadjusted for seasonal variations.