The seasonal price bump many markets experienced in the spring appears to have cooled off, according to a report from real estate data firm Altos Research.

Last week, the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller National Home Price Index for May showed that 16 out of the 20 markets tracked saw monthly price increases, with the 20-city composite up 1 percent. On an annual basis, however, only Washington, D.C., saw a gain, up 1.3 percent, and the 20-city composite was down 4.5 percent.

An index released today by data and valuation firm Clear Capital rose 4.1 percent from April-July this year compared to January-March. The company’s index uses data based on rolling quarters, comparing the last four-month period to the previous three-month period.

Nevertheless, prices remain down 7.9 percent compared to June 2010 and down 1.8 percent compared to June 2009, the report said. All four regions experienced price declines on a year-over-year basis, with the Midwest hit hardest (-13.1 percent).

The Altos 10-city composite median price saw its first month-to-month decline in five months in July. Though the decline was slight, falling to 0.2 percent to $450,176, it indicates a shifting market when coupled with other data points. Of 26 markets covered by Altos, prices declined month to month in seven markets in July, compared to only one — Las Vegas — in June. Inventory rose in 20 of the 26 markets.

"The short-term trends in median price and total inventory indicate a cooling of the summer market," the Altos report said.

"We’ve called this effect the ‘catfish recovery.’ Home prices nationally responded well to springtime demand and ultralow interest rates. Now as the summer ends, housing demand shifts and prices will decline to bump along the bottom of the pond again."

Three East Coast markets saw the biggest price declines in July: New York (-1.7 percent), Boston (-1.2 percent) and Miami (-0.7 percent). Detroit posted the biggest price increase (2.4 percent), followed by Denver (1.5 percent), and Tampa (1.1 percent).

Inventory rose the most in Boston (4.9 percent), New York (3.6 percent) and Minneapolis (2.6 percent). Three cities hit hard by foreclosures reported the biggest declines in inventory: Phoenix (-6.8 percent), Tampa (-6.6 percent), and Miami (-2.3 percent).

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