Home prices fall at worst rate ever

NEW YORK — Home prices tumbled by the steepest rate ever during May, according to a closely watched index released Tuesday.

The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city index dropped by 15.8 percent in May compared with a year ago, a record decline since its inception in 2000. The 10-city housing index plunged 16.9 percent, the biggest decline in its 21-year history.

No city in the 20-city index saw price gains in May, the second straight month that has happened. The monthly indices have not recorded an overall home price increase since August 2006.

Home values have fallen 18.4 percent since the 20-city index's peak in July 2006.

But in a possible bright spot, seven metro areas — Tampa, Fla.; Boston; Detroit; Minneapolis; New York; Dallas and Atlanta — showed smaller annual declines.

Lexington, Louisville and Cincinnati are not part of the survey.