Declines in US house prices are continuing to accelerate, according to surveys that signal there will be no quick end to the credit crisis. The Independent

The price of the average home was 11% lower than a year ago, the S&P Case-Shiller index showed yesterday, as repossessed homes flood the market – and economists predict that the price adjustment may be little more than half over.

The Case-Shiller index has become one of the most widely followed measures of the US economy because American homes are the collateral that supports hundreds of billions of dollars of mortgage-backed securities and other credit derivatives.

The latest figures cover house prices in 20 metropolitan areas in January, and show that price declines have spread far beyond the once-hot speculative property markets in Florida and the South-west and crumbling industrial towns. Now, Charlotte, North Carolina, is the sole region showing year-on-year gains.

The year-on-year decline of 10.7% in the average house price is worse than anything seen in the last downturn in the early Nineties. Prices fell 2.4 per cent in just one month.