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Home prices drop for fifth straight month: CoreLogic

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December home prices fell 5.4% from a year ago, the fifth straight month of declines, according to data provider CoreLogic (CLGX). The decrease was steeper in December than the revised 4.39% drop in November. For all of 2010, though, home prices showed no change from the year before and some signs of stabilization. From 2008 to 2009, home prices fell 12.7%. CoreLogic Chief Economist Mark Fleming said 2010 was a year of volatility with the expiration of the homebuyer tax credit. "It was a bumpy ride which ended with a net gain/loss of zero. Despite the continued monthly decline in home prices and year-over-year depreciation, we’re encouraged that on an annual basis we’re unchanged relative to a year ago," Fleming said. "Excess supply continues to drive prices downward, but the silver lining is that the rate of decline is decelerating." Despite the stabilization in 2010, home prices remain 31.6% below their peak in April 2006, according to CoreLogic. December home prices rose 5.53% in North Dakota, the highest appreciation in the country, followed by a 3.79% gain in Hawaii and a 3.74% increase in West Virginia. Prices fell the most, 14.6%, in Idaho, 13.1% in Alabama and 10.9% in Arizona for the month. Write to Jon Prior. Follow him on Twitter: @JonAPrior

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