By Les Christie, CNNMoney.com staff writer On Tuesday September 29, 2009, 9:00 am EDT
There was another tick-up in home prices in July, a further indication that housing markets may be stabilizing, according to a report issued Tuesday.
Prices for the S&P Case-Shiller Home Price index of 20 cities rose 1.6% from a month earlier, the third consecutive month of gains. They went up 1.4% in June.
Prices were still down 13.3% compared with July 2008, but even that performance was better than expected. A panel of industry experts surveyed by Briefing.com had forecast a 14.2% loss.
"The rate of annual decline in home price values continues to decelerate and we now seem to be witnessing some sustained monthly increases across many of the markets" said David Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at Standard & Poor's.
The Case-Shiller index compares the sale price of a home to its price the last time it was sold, then factors in changes in prices over time.
That, ideally, yields a more accurate picture of home price fluctuations than simply calculating the median or average prices of all homes sold during the month. Those averages can be skewed by changes in the mix of homes sold during any one period.
Among the 20 cities, Minneapolis recorded the biggest gain during July; with prices up 4.6%. San Francisco, up 3.3%, and Chicago, 2.7% higher, also recorded sizable gains.
The only price declines occurred in Las Vegas, where they fell 1.1%, and Seattle, down 0.1%.