The risk of a general decline in home prices over the next two years is highest in the Northeast and California, according to the latest PMI Risk Index.The average value of the index for the 50 largest metropolitan statistical areas stood at 202 in the latest quarterly index, up from its previous reading of 161, said PMI Mortgage Insurance Co., the Walnut Creek, Calif.-based mortgage insurer that created the index. The index value means that these MSAs have on average a 20.2% probability of experiencing a home price decline in the next two years. But for the MSAs topping the index, the risk is much higher. They are Boston-Quincy (Mass.), at 534; Nassau-Suffolk (N.Y.), at 511; and Oakland-Fremont-Hayward (Calif.), at 487. Fourteen of the 15 riskiest MSAs are in the Northeast or California. "The latest PMI Risk Index numbers reveal that most of the increase in house price risk is concentrated in certain markets, caused by regional weakening in affordability," said Mark Milner, chief risk officer of PMI Mortgage Insurance. PMI can be found online at http://www.pmigroup.com.

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