A home-price index that tracks 20 U.S. metropolitan areas showed a 2.8 percent decline in the annual home-price growth rate for May, according to a report released today.

It was the 18th consecutive decline in the monthly Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-City Composite index, which has been in negative territory since January 2007 when compared to index results in 2006. The 10-city index experienced an annual decline of 3.4 percent in May, the largest decline since mid-1991 for that index.

The indices are designed to track the price path of typical single-family homes in each of the tracked metro areas, and each index combines matched price pairs for thousands of individual homes that were sold at fair market value.

Fifteen of 20 metro areas in the 20-city index had year-over-year price declines in May, the report states. The most extreme price-index drops were reported in Detroit, down 11.1 percent; followed by San Diego, down 7 percent; Tampa, down 6.7 percent; and Washington, D.C., down 6.3 percent.

The metro areas with the largest year-over-year price increases were Seattle, up 9.1 percent; Charlotte, N.C., up 7 percent; and Portland, Ore., up 5.7 percent.

Other markets tracked in the 20-city index include Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, Phoenix and San Francisco.

“At a national level, declines in annual home-price returns are showing no signs of a slowdown or turnaround,” Robert J. Shiller, chief economist at MacroMarkets LLC, said in a statement. “Year-over-year price returns are continuing to either move deeper into negative territory or experience persistent diminishing returns.”

Shiller added, “If there is any positive news in these numbers, it may be that in both May and April, eight of the 20 markets showed positive monthly growth rates. This compares to only one or two of the 20 in the late winter and early spring. We need a few more months of data, however, to determine if this is the beginning of a national turnaround, since the national trend is still at a sharp deceleration.”

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are published at 9 a.m. ET on the last Tuesday of each month.

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