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West set for double-dip, as home prices deteriorate: Clear Capital

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The Western region of the U.S. is in line for a double dip as soon as next month, as home prices continue to drift downward. According to Clear Capital's Home Data Index Market Report, prices in the West dropped 4.5% between December and February while prices in other parts of the nation leveled out. In addition, Clear Capital reported that eight of the 15 lowest performing markets are in the West. "As prices continued to slide, new record price lows for the West are only 0.7% away and could be realized as early as next month," the data firm said. Prices dropped 1.6% in the Midwest, increased 0.3% in the Northeast and remain flat in the South. On a nation basis, home price declines slowed for the second consecutive month, down 1.4% in February compared to 1.6% in January. Home prices are still up 4.2% from 2009, a fact that Alex Villacorta, director of research and analyitics at Clear Capital, considers only a small step in the right direction. "From a larger perspective, prices are still up 4.2% off of the absolute lows of the housing crash, a sign that long term gains can be realized amidst the volatile behavior of the last two years," commented Villacorta. "Yet, when comparing this growth to other economic indicators over the same time period, it is clear that the housing market still has a long way to go toward a sustained recovery." Memphis home prices performed the best over the three months ended in February, up 7.6%, followed by Rochester, N.Y. (up 5.4%), Atlanta, Ga. (up 4.1%), Cleveland, Ohio (up 3.8%) and New York, N.Y. (3.7%). Struggling markets continued to see prices erode. Detroit prices fell the most over the last three months, down 13.3%, followed by Milwaukee, Wis. (down 13.1%), Raleigh, N.C. (down 10.5%), Dallas, Texas (down 9.3%) and Fresno, Calif. (down 7.6%). Other under performing markets in the West include Tuscon, Seattle, Sacramento, Portland, Ore., Phoenix and San Francisco. Write to Christine Ricciardi. Follow her on Twitter @HWnebieCR.

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