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PMI: growing risk of price declines

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Increasing unemployment and foreclosure rates kept home prices down without relieving pressure on ballooning inventories, boosting the risk of price declines in all but a dozen of the nation's 381 metro areas within the next two years, mortgage insurer PMI Mortgage Insurance Co. said.PMI's analysis of statistics compiled through the end of September showed high-risk metro areas remain concentrated in Florida, California, Arizona and Nevada. But a number of metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) in the Rust Belt and East Coast saw "marked increases" in the chance of lower house prices within two years."With the recession continuing, higher unemployment rates and rising foreclosure rates will put additional upward pressure on risk," the report concluded. Those factors will be offset to some extent by continuing improvements in housing affordability, the report said, but on balance, "it is likely that the risk index will rise further in many MSAs in coming quarters...