Recent talk of a recovery in housing prices appears premature. Prices as a whole recorded an 8.9 percent drop in the third quarter, compared to a year earlier -- a big improvement from the 15 percent and 19 percent drops in the prior five quarters, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, the leading measure of U.S. home prices. But the drop for the closely watched 20-city index, 9.4 percent, was worse than expected.
Las Vegas remains the most depressed market in the U.S. Prices have declined for 37 consecutive months, with a peak-to-trough reading of -55.4 percent. While Detroit has seen some positive movement in recent months, the market is still at only 73 percent of its 2000 value. This compares to regions such as Los Angeles, New York and Washington, which have maintained values of 70-80 percent above their 2000 averages, in spite of the market downturn.