Real estate prices fall for 5th straight month

CoreLogic reports worst declines may be over

U.S. home prices fell for the fifth month in a row in December, but the rate of decline is decelerating, according to the latest Home Price Index from mortgage data aggregator CoreLogic.

The CoreLogic HPI showed national home prices falling 5.46 percent from a year ago in December. Looking at the year as a whole, the index showed essentially no change from 2009 — a sign that the largest declines are over, CoreLogic said.

"Despite the continued monthly decline in home prices and year-over-year depreciation, we’re encouraged that on an annual basis we’re unchanged relative to a year ago," said CoreLogic Chief Economist Mark Fleming in a statement. "Excess supply continues to drive prices downward, but the silver lining is that the rate of decline is decelerating."

The index showed national home prices down 31.6 percent from their April 2006 peak, or 22.2 percent if distressed transactions are excluded.