US & Canada

US home prices drop amid weak demand

A new home for sale in Winter Garden, Florida, 20 December 2011
Image caption Some economists expect home prices to bottom out this year - but the market's recovery will be bumpy

US home prices dropped more than expected in November, continuing the market's slide in an index of 20 metropolitan areas.

Prices for single-family homes declined 0.7%, instead of the 0.5% forecasted by economists.

Home prices are on average at similar levels to 2003, amid a large supply of houses with weak demand.

Consumer confidence also slipped in January, after two straight months of gains in confidence in the US economy.

"Optimism was getting a little bit ahead of itself,'' Mark Vitner, an economist at Wells Fargo told the Associated Press news agency.

"This is really a sober view after folks got a little excited at the turn of the year, thinking that 2012 would be a much better year. But things haven't gotten much better.''

The consumer confidence index surveys consumers about economic issues - from overall business conditions to finding a job.

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