A U.S. home-price index based on repeat sales of resale homes dropped a record 18.2 percent year-over-year in the fourth-quarter, while a separate monthly index tracking 20 U.S. metro areas plummeted a record 18.5 percent year-over-year in December 2008.

The price drops were the most severe in the 21-year history of the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller index data.

"The broad downturn in the residential real estate market continues," said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the S&P index committee, in a statement.

"There are very few, if any, pockets of turnaround that one can see in the data. Most of the nation appears to remain on a downward path, with all of the 20 metro areas reporting annual declines, and eight of those (metro areas) now with negative rates exceeding 20 percent."

Thirteen of the 20 metro areas tracked have set consecutive records in monthly declines since December 2007.

Phoenix experienced the largest year-over-year index decline in December (-34 percent), followed by Las Vegas (-33 percent), San Francisco (-31.2 percent) and Miami (-28.8 percent).

Denver (down 4 percent), Dallas (-4.3 percent), Cleveland (-6.1 percent), Boston (-7 percent) and Charlotte (-7.2 percent) had the slightest year-over-year index declines in December.

All of the 20 metro areas tracked in the monthly index experienced monthly index drops from November 2008 to December 2008.

Phoenix led with the highest monthly index decline (-5.1 percent), followed by Las Vegas (-4.8 percent) and Minneapolis (-4.6 percent).

The S&P/Case-Shiller index report notes that Boston had the slightest monthly decline (-1.3 percent) from November 2008 to December 2008, followed by Denver (-1.5 percent) and New York (-1.7 percent).

A separate report by First American CoreLogic found that U.S. home prices sank 11.1 percent year-over-year in December and were down 19.3 percent from a July 2006 peak (see Inman News).

***

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