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US Housing Prices Fall

A newly built home is listed as sold in a subdivision under construction in Carlsbad, California, February 21, 2012

Economic reports published Tuesday show falling prices for U.S. homes and declining orders for certain manufactured goods.

The Commerce Department says orders for expensive goods intended to last at least three years fell by four percent in January. That is the worst drop in three years and is due, in part, to a sharp fall in orders for commercial aircraft.

A separate report from private researchers at Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller also shows home prices dropping four percent in December. Other reports have shown that the number of home sales is leveling off, but that has not yet stopped the slide in home prices.

Federal Reserve Board Governor Elizabeth Duke says the U.S. central bank is studying the housing market closely. The Fed has slashed interest rates and taken other actions that usually bolster housing sales, but she told a congressional hearing they have not yet had as much impact as hoped.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.