US home prices falling faster

Home prices fell in 18 of 20 major US markets during September, S&P/Case-Shiller data shows here. The typical US home price "declined 2.0% in the third quarter of 2010," after rising nearly 5% in the second quarter.

Prices fell in 18 sampled markets and rose (just a little) only in 2: battered Las Vegas, and government-inflated Washington, DC. In the Northeast, prices fell 1.3% in the Boston area, 0.3% around New York.

S&P doesn't count metro Philly; why not? "The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices use data from filings in county tax offices for property tax purposes. These filings tend to have long delays in Pennsylvania which would result in similar delays in publishing an index for Philadelphia," says S&P spokesman Dave Guarino. Plus, he adds, Boston, NY, Philly, Washington - it's all Northeast, right?

"While housing prices are still above their spring 2009 lows, the end of the tax incentives and still-active foreclosures appear to be weighing down the market," S&P reports. "September was the fourth consecutive month" where sales prices "decelerated." 

Slow housing means a slower economy. In a report to clients, Guggenheim Securities LLC analyst Jay McCanless says he expects a 10% drop in sales by Horsham-based nationwide high-end tract-home builder Toll Bros. Inc., from around 765 in the fourth quarter of last year. He noted Toll reduced the number of developments it plans this fiscal year to 195, from earlier estimates of up to 210.