- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 24, 2009

NEW YORK (AP) — A widely watched index shows home prices tumbled by the sharpest annual rate on record in the fourth quarter and in December.

The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index plunged 18.2 percent during the quarter from the same period a year ago, the largest drop in its 21-year history. Prices are now at levels not seen since the third quarter of 2003.

In the month of December, the Case-Shiller 20-city index plunged 18.5 percent from December 2007 levels, while the 10-city index dropped 19.2 percent.

Prices in the 20-city index have plummeted 27 percent from their peak in the summer of 2006, and the 10-city index has fallen more than 28 percent.

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