The United States housing market has had a bad year.
Between March 2010 and March 2011, the market suffered its biggest year-over-year decline in 16 months. Property values in 20 cities fell to their lowest levels since 2003 with a 3.6 percent drop from March 2010 to March 2011, according to new figures from S&P/Case-Shiller.
The figure is slightly worse than 25 economists surveyed by Bloomberg expected. That group expected a 3.4 perccent drop with a range of 2.8 percent to 4.9 percent.
Nationally, prices sank 5.1 percent in the first quarter from the same time in 2010 and 4.2 percent from the previous three months. It was the biggest one-quarter decrease since the first three months of 2009.
The drop is the eighth straight decline on a non-seasonally adjusted basis. With a backlog of foreclosures, there is an excess of distressed properties, which could help keep the market depressed and make people less likely to build new homes. Of the 20 cities looked at, only Washington, D.C. showed growth.
The report comes on the heels of previous reports showing trouble in the housing market. According to the National Association of Realtors in May, previously owned homes fell 0.8 percent in April to a 5.05 million rate, with distressed sales accounting for 37 percent of the total.