Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller housing price indices dipped into negative territory in January for the first time as prices in 11 of 20 cities posted negative annual returns.Single-family house prices fell to a negative 0.2% annual return in January, according to the S&P Case-Shiller HPI, down dramatically from a 14.7% annual return in January 2006. The annual decline is a "good indicator of the dire state of the U.S. residential real state market," said Robert Shiller, chief economist at MacroMarkets LLC. Detroit and Boston led the declines with negative annual returns of 6.9% and 5.6%, respectively. Charlotte is the only metro area that showed a price increase between December and January.

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