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DENVER — Default management and residential collateral firm Integrated Asset Services released its IAS36 House Price Index for December on Feb. 10, which included the firm’s anticipated 10 hardest hit counties list. California’s San Joaquin County takes the unwanted top honor of largest decline since peak, with houses there losing 51% of their value. California’s Monterey and Kern counties followed with 49.4% and 45.2% declines, with Lee and Charlotte counties in Florida rounding out the top five with value losses of 44.6% and 42.2%, respectively.The index also showed a 13.8% decline in house prices for all of 2008 and an overall decline of 19.1% since the market’s peak at the end of 2006. December 2008 posted a decline of 1.1%.At the U.S. census regional level, both the West and the South experienced double-digit declines in 2008. The West, which dropped 18.4% in 2008, fell over 24% from its peak in 2006, while the South, down 12% during 2008, was off nearly 18% from its high. Meanwhile, the Northeast posted declines of 9.4% for 2008 and 11.7% from its peak. The Midwest, despite significant declines, was the least affected region in the U.S., and posted declines of 7.4% in 2008 and 10.4% from its peak.At the metropolitan statistical area level, San Francisco, San Diego, and Miami were the hardest hit areas in 2008, with one-year home prices losses of 23.9%, 22.7%, and 20.8%, respectively. Within San Francisco’s MSA, Contra Costa County declined at a rate of 35.5% during 2008 and 42.2% since its 2006 peak. Also within the San Francisco MSA, Marin County and San Francisco County posted declines of 11.3% and 13.9% from the 2006 high, while declines accelerated to 15.4% and 16.1% across 2008.“We’re seeing house prices returning to pre-bubble levels and there are no signs of leveling off just yet,” said Dave McCarthy, IAS president/CEO.The IAS360 House Price Index is a comprehensive housing index tracking monthly change in the median sales price of detached single-family residences across the U.S. The index, based on all arms-length transactions, tracks data of 15,000 “neighborhoods,” which is rolled-up to report on the changes in 360 counties, nine census divisions, four regions and the nation overall.–[email protected]

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