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by CareyBot

A monthly home-price index that tracks price shifts in 20 metro areas fell to a negative annual return in January, with 11 of 20 areas experiencing year-over-year declines. The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-City Composite index reached 202.03 in January, which is a 202 percent gain compared to the index base value of 100 in January 2000 but represents a year-over-year decline of 0.2 percent. The index is designed to track price changes for typical single-family homes in a given metro area by matching price pairs for individual homes from a database of sales at fair market value. "The annual declines in the composites are a good indicator of the dire state of the U.S. residential real estate market," said Robert J. Shiller, chief economist at MacroMarkets LLC, in a state...