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Home Prices Decline 5.9% in Second Quarter

U.S. home pricesfell 5.9 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier, the biggest drop since 2009, as foreclosures added to the inventory of properties for sale, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Prices declined 0.6 percent from the prior three months, the Washington-based agency said today in a report. In June, prices retreated 4.3 percent from a year earlier, while increasing 0.9 percent from the previous month. Foreclosures are boosting the supply of properties on the market and undercutting the confidence of homebuyers, sapping demand even as mortgage rates tumble to near-record lows. The U.S. inventory of homes for sale averaged 3.7 million during the second quarter, the highest since the third quarter of 2010, data from the National Association of Realtors show. The mortgages on 6.5 million U.S. homes had late payments or were in foreclosure in June, according to Lender Processing Services Inc. in Jacksonville, Florida. “Foreclosures water down home prices because banks want to get rid of properties as fast as they can,” said Patrick Newport, an economist at IHS Global Insight in Lexington, Massachusetts. “The key number driving foreclosures is the unemployment rate, and we saw that worsen in the second quarter.”

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