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'Dismal Start' For Home Prices This Year

There was "further deceleration" in U.S. home prices in January and overall, the market is "off to a dismal start in 2011," according to the latest S&P/Case-Schiller Home Price Index.

Its "10-City Composite was down 2.0% and the 20-City Composite fell 3.1% from their January 2010 levels. San Diego and Washington, D.C., were the only two markets to record positive year-over-year changes. However, San Diego was up a scant 0.1%, while Washington DC posted a healthier +3.6% annual growth rate."

"Keeping with the trends set in late 2010, January brings us weakening home prices with no real hope insight for the near future" David M. Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at Standard & Poor's said in its report. "The housing market recession is not yet over, and none of the statistics are indicating any form of sustained recovery."

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.