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Home prices drop for fourth straight month: Altos Research

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Home prices in the Altos Research 10-city composite index dropped 1.5% to an average median price of $465,968 in Septembe after a 1% drop the month before. In the last 14 months, prices only increased month-over-month once. In May, prices improved 0.2%. Further price declines are expected. "As the market continues to correct, continued price decreases can be expected, likely until the early part of 2011, when the boost of the 'Spring market' is felt," according to Altos. Just as in August, home prices fell in 25 of the 26 markets covered by Altos, an analytics firm. Prices dropped the most in Phoenix, down 4.55%, San Francisco by 2.96% and a 2.53% drop in Dallas. But nationally, inventory was down 2.24%, which, according to Altos, will soften the impact of weakening homebuyer demand in many markets. "While home prices are still falling, it is significant that there are fewer and fewer homes listed for sale. In fact, in only nine of the 26 markets that Altos follows in its monthly report were increases noted," according to the report. Write to Jon Prior.

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