Existing home prices across the 20 markets measured by the Standard and Poor's S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices fell to record lows in October, leading one of the creators of the index to label the current state of the housing market "grim."

The 10-City composite index fell 6.7% to a record low of 209.68, based on a base value of 100 in January 2000. The largest decline on record had been 6.3% recorded in April 1991. The 20-City Composite recorded an annual decline of 6.1%. October marked the 10th consecutive month of negative annual returns and the 23rd consecutive month of decelerating returns.

"No matter how you look at these data, it is obvious that the current state of the single-family housing market remains grim," said Robert J. Shiller, chief economist at MacroMarkets LLC and an economics professor at Yale University. "Not only did the 10-City Composite post a record low in its annual growth rate, but 11 of the 20 metro areas did the same. If you look at the monthly figures, every MSA [metropolitan statistical area] went down in both October and September. Eleven of the 20 MSAs, in addition to the two composites, recorded their single largest monthly decline on record in October. For both the 10-City and 20-City composites this was a decline of 1.4% over September."

Miami surpassed Tampa in October, reporting a double-digit annual decline of 12.4%. Tampa followed with -11.8%, Detroit with -11.2% and San Diego with -11.1%. Six of the metro areas are now posting double digit declines in their annual growth rates. Atlanta and Dallas finally entered negative territory, with declines of 0.7% and 0.1%, respectively, leaving only Charlotte, Portland and Seattle as the markets still experiencing positive annual growth rates.

Among the individual markets, the biggest month-to-month declines were posted in Detroit, off 2.4%; Las Vegas, down 2.2%; Los Angeles, down 2.1%; Miami, also down 2.1%; Phoenix, off 2.2%; San Diego, down 2.6% and San Francisco, down 2.1%. Though all 20 markets saw declines from September to October, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, New York, Portland and Seattle all fell less than 1%, with New York off only 0.4%.