Home prices in March fell for the eighth consecutive month and reached a new low for this housing recession, according to a new reading on the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller house price index.
The housing bust officially began in 2006 and according to David Blitzer, chairman of S&P's index committee, prices may keep sliding until mid-2012. Tuesday morning Blitzer noted that there is a growing concern whether “people even want to own houses anymore.”
The S&P Case-Shiller 20-city HPI fell to 138.2 in March, which is below the 139.3 previous low set in April 2009. Prices rebounded in the second half of 2009 due to federal homebuyer tax credits (since expired) but all of those gains have now been erased.
"This month’s report is marked by the confirmation of a double-dip in home prices across much of the nation," Blitzer said.
The 20-city HPI fell 0.8% in March following a 1.1% drop in February. The HPI is down 3.6% from a year ago.
Of the 20 cities represented in the index, only Washington registered a monthly (1.1%) and annual (4.3%) price increase based on the March report.
Meanwhile, the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller national HPI fell 4.2% in the first quarter following a 3.6% decline in the prior quarter.
"Home prices continue on their downward spiral with no relief in sight,” Blitzer said.