NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. home prices fell in 2011 for the fifth year in a row, weighed down by distressed sales of houses scooped up at bargain prices, data analysis firm CoreLogic said on Thursday.
CoreLogic’s (CLGX.N) home price index fell 4.7 percent in 2011. Excluding distress sales, prices declined just 0.9 percent.
The report also showed home prices fell for the fifth consecutive month in December, down 1.4 percent compared to the previous month.
But without distressed sales, home prices gained for the first month since July 2011, up 0.2 percent.
“Until distressed sales in the market recede, we will see continued downward pressure on prices,” Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic, said in a statement.
Distressed sales include bank-owned homes and homes where the owner can no longer pay the mortgage, and are done at cheap prices in order to attract a buyer.
With the large amount of foreclosures still plaguing the housing sector, such sales have become more common as lenders try to clear out inventory.
Reporting By Leah Schnurr; Editing by Kenneth Barry