US house prices slump
American house prices decreased in the year ended April by the largest margin in 17 months, showing the housing market remains an obstacle for the US recovery.
The S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values in 20 cities fell 4pc from April 2010, the biggest drop since November 2009, the group said. From March to April, prices fell 0.1pc on a seasonally adjusted basis, the smallest decline since July 2010.
A backlog of foreclosures and falling sales raise the risk that prices will decline further, discouraging builders from taking on new projects. The drop in property values and a jobless rate hovering around 9pc are holding back consumer sentiment.
"There's no sign of any real recovery in housing yet," Jim O'Sullivan, chief economist at MF Global in New York, said.