U.S. home prices plunged 8.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2007 compared to the prior year's quarter -- it was a record in the 20 years of data collected, according to a Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller price index report released today. The national index sank 5.4 percent from the third quarter in 2007 to the fourth quarter in 2007, and the year-over-year drop in the fourth quarter was far larger than the 2.8 percent annual rate of decline for the index reported during the 1990-91 housing recession. "We reached a somber year-end for the housing market in 2007," Robert J. Shiller, Yale University professor and chief economist at MacroMarkets LLC and a co-creator of the index, said in a statement. "Home prices across the nation and in most metro areas are significantly lower than where they were a year ago." A separate, monthly index that measures price changes for 20 U.S. metro areas declined 9.1 percent in December 2007 compared to December 2006, while a 10-city inde...
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