Page last updated at 14:46 GMT, Tuesday, 29 April 2008 15:46 UK

US house prices show steep fall

Home for sale in Miami
Analysts say prices have softened more since February's figures

US house prices were down by 12.7% in February compared with a year ago, a survey by S&P/Case-Shiller suggests.

The survey also showed record annual price falls in 17 of its 20 measured US geographical regions.

A crisis in the sub-prime market - where banks lent money to people with poor credit histories - has hit the housing market and financial sector.

"There is no sign of a bottom in the numbers," said David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P.

The prices of homes in all 20 areas featured in the report have fallen for six months in a row.

But some analysts said that the data, which looks back nearly three months, will be "shaken off" by the market.

Ron Simpson, from Action Economics in Florida, said: "This report is from February which is a little bit backward looking and for the market it is a given housing prices have softened since then."

A separate report, from property data firm Realty Trac, said US home foreclosure filings jumped 23% in the first quarter from the previous period, and more than doubled from a year earlier.

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