Home prices fell during July in 24 of 25 U.S. metropolitan areas, from a year earlier, as foreclosures depressed the property market.
Las Vegas had the biggest decline on a per-square-foot basis, 33%, according to a report Thursday from the New York real estate data company Radar Logic Inc. Los Angeles, Phoenix, Sacramento, and San Francisco each dropped about 28%.
Three of the five worst-performing markets were in California.
"Buyers are increasingly reluctant," Radar Logic's chief executive officer, Michael Feder, said in an interview.
"There has been an awful lot of talk about the declining of the housing markets."
U.S. foreclosures rose to a record 2.75% of all mortgages in the second quarter, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. The Senate passed a $700 billion financial-market rescue package Wednesday loaded with inducements for the House to support it also. The House rejected an earlier version on Monday.
Foreclosed houses tend to sell at a discount of about 20%, according to research by Lehman Brothers.
These discounts weigh on prices throughout the country, Radar Logic said.
"As you clear out the discount inventory, it is going to come back," Mr. Feder said of the housing market. "The bill that's struggling through Congress could have a dramatic impact."
U.S. foreclosures have come in three waves, Moody's Economy.com chief economist Mark Zandi said in a report this week.
The first came in early 2006 when investors who had bought houses intending to quickly resell them for a profit realized the boom was over and walked away. The second came a year later as owners who used adjustable-rate mortgages to buy in 2005 and 2006 began to see their monthly payments rise. Now, falling home prices combined with rising unemployment have spurred a third round, Mr. Zandi said.
The biggest price declines were in California and the southwestern states, Radar Logic said. Prices fell 26.5% in San Diego from a year earlier, 24.1% in Miami, 17.9% in San Jose, and 17.4% in Tampa, the report said.
Only Milwaukee reported home price appreciation, up 2.9% from July 2007. Prices have risen 3.6 % there in the last two years.
The only other city to see an increase during that period was Charlotte, with a 1.5 % gain.
"They didn't have the same boom, and their economy is somewhat more stable," Mr. Feder said of Wisconsin. "They are, to some degree, not suffering the bust."
In the New York metropolitan area, prices fell 7.8% in July from a year earlier, and in Boston they fell 13.6%, Radar Logic said.
The RPX Monthly Housing Market Report, published by Radar Logic, measures home values using price per square foot. The data reflects 28-day aggregated values, the company said.
The prices are the basis for property derivatives traded on the Residential Property Index, which has a volume of $2 billion. The index lets investors benefit from the movement of metropolitan-area home prices without owning land or physical property.