Prices down around the country (except Portland, Charlotte and...what's going on in Seattle?)

Home prices declined in 17 of 20 key housing markets over the past year, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller(R) Home Price Indices (which is produced by Standard &

Poor's, which--disclosure alert--is like BusinessWeek, owned by The McGraw-Hill Cos.) The chart makes for interesting reading. Detroit (-7.8%) San Diego (-5%), Boston (-4.7%) and Washington D.C. (-4.3%) suffered the biggest year-over-year declines of all cities. And what the heck is going on in Seattle and Portland? Seattle home prices were up 10.6% between February '06 and February '07, and Portland prices rose 7.7% (readers there, please illuminate).

In general, S&P economists say the data "indicates the deceleration and declines in home prices are showing no signs of turnaround." So much for the talk that the market was stabilizing. The average consecutive "negative monthly return" of the 20 cities that S&P and Shiller studied is 5 months, and some markets are doing worse: San Francisco and Boston have yielded negative monthly returns since May of last year, notes S&P.

There's a lot of interesting data in the release, which can be found here. And even more data, including historical price trends for each of those major markets, can be found here. I'd invite readers to help us pore through the data and pick out any interesting nuggets you find in this thread...

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