The S&P Case-Shiller home price index fell more than expected in the July as the 20-city composite index posted an annual decline of 16.3%, extending the prior month's 15.9% decline.

The Case-Shiller index has fallen every month since peaking in July 2006, but economists say the rate of decline may be slowing, as evidenced by the three-month annualized rates.

Economists were expecting the quarterly index to fall 16.0%.

The three-month annualized rate of decline was 8.56% in July, compared to the 10.03% decline in June.

The 10-City and 20-City composite indexes also set new records, with annual declines of 17.49% and 16.35%, respectively.

"There are signs of a slowdown in the rate of decline across the metro areas, but no evidence of a bottom" says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at Standard & Poor's. "Little positive news can be found when cities like Las Vegas and Phoenix report annual declines as large as -29.9% and-29.3%, respectively, and all 20 cities are still in negative territory on a year-over-year basis.

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices measure the residential housing market and track changes in the value of the residential real estate market in 20 metropolitan regions across the United States.

By Steve Stecyk and edited by Stephen Huebl
©CEP News Ltd. 2008