S&P/Case-Shiller Home Prices Fell 2.1% in April, Index Shows By Courtney Schlisserman http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aDPbZ0uuxP6E&refer=home June 26 (Bloomberg) -- Home values in 20 U.S. metropolitan areas fell the most in at least six years, weakened by a record supply of properties for sale. Home values declined 2.1 percent in April from the same month a year earlier, according to a report today by S&P/Case- Shiller. It was the fourth straight drop in the group's index, which started in 2001. The housing market continues to restrain the economy even as other areas, such as business spending and manufacturing, accelerate. Elevated inventories of unsold homes, reduced demand and stricter loan requirements will probably keep prices low the rest of this year, economists said. ``No region is immune to the weakening price returns,'' said Robert Shiller, chief economist at MacroMarkets LLC and a professor at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, said in a statement. Home prices fell 0.2 percent in April from a month earlier, following a 0.3 percent drop in March, according to the index. The figures aren't adjusted for seasonal effects, so economists prefer to focus on year-over-year changes. Fourteen cities showed a year-over-year decrease in prices for the month, led by a 9.3 percent drop in Detroit and a 6.7 percent decline in San Diego. The biggest increases in home values were in Seattle, where prices rose 9.6 percent, and Charlotte, with a 7 percent gain. S&P/Case-Shiller's 10-city composite index, which has a longer history, declined 2.7 percent in April from a year earlier. Record Inventory The National Association of Realtors said yesterday that the median price of an existing home fell 2.1 percent in May from a year earlier to $223,700. The group also said that resales fell to the lowest level in almost four years and the supply of unsold homes on the market reached a record. The Commerce Department is scheduled to release May new home sales figures later today. The median price of a new home dropped 11 percent in April from the same month a year earlier, the biggest decline since 1970. The S&P/Case-Shiller index and another gauge by the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight track the same home over time and more accurately reflect price trends, economists say. The measures from Commerce and the Realtors group can be influenced by changes in the types of homes sold. Higher sales of cheaper homes relative to more-expensive properties will bias the figures down. Housing accounts for about 23 percent of the U.S. economy, when taking into account purchases of furniture, appliances and items for new homes, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Bernanke on Housing ``The adjustment in the housing sector is still ongoing, and the slowdown in residential construction now appears likely to remain a drag on economic growth for somewhat longer than previously expected,'' Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said on June 5. Fed policy makers are expected to hold the benchmark overnight lending rate between banks at 5.25 percent for the eighth straight meeting on June 28, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists. A recovery in housing is partly being held back by a wave of subprime mortgage defaults, which is throwing homes back onto the market and prompting banks to make it tougher for borrowers with poor or limited credit histories to get loans. The number of Americans who may lose their homes because of late mortgage payments rose to a record in the first quarter, the Mortgage Bankers Association said this month. Subprime loans going into default rose to a five-year high, and prime loans entering foreclosure also surged to a record.