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Home prices hit post-boom lows: What does that mean for housing market?

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Just as important, the price swings during the past year have been modest in most of the cities. Seven cities posted price gains during the past year, in the Case-Shiller survey. Among those showing price declines, the only cities showing declines larger than 4 percent were Los Angeles (4.8 percent), Phoenix (6.1 percent), Chicago (7.1 percent), Las Vegas (7.5 percent), and Atlanta (17.7 percent). 

What's up in Atlanta? In part it's a delayed response. In hindsight, the city overbuilt during the boom, like many other cities around the nation that had strong population growth. Unlike, say, in Miami or Las Vegas, in Atlanta some of the worst fallout for home prices has come just in the past year. 

But the examples like Atlanta are the exception, not the rule. The National Association of Realtors recently said that some cities now have something more like a "seller's market," with tight supply of for-sale homes relative to demand. Those include Miami, Phoenix, Seattle, and Washington, the group said.

"In most cities, home prices appear to be stabilizing," forecasters Patrick Newport and Michelle Valverde of IHS Global Insight write in an analysis of the new Case-Shiller numbers. They note that another prominent home price index, put out by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), shows that more clearly.

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