Of 20 U.S. cities tracked in a monthly home-price index, only Los Angeles and San Diego posted month-to-month gains in January on a non-seasonally adjusted basis: 0.9 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively.

The latest Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller National Home Price Indices report, released today, also found that Portland, Ore., posted the biggest month-to-month loss, at -1.8 percent.

Nine out of 20 cities posted year-over-year gains. San Francisco and San Diego saw the biggest increases: 9 percent and 5.9 percent, respectively. And Las Vegas saw the biggest year-over-year decline by far: -17.4 percent. Detroit and Tampa saw the second-biggest declines, both at -7.4 percent.

The indices, which are based on repeat sales of single-family homes over time, have a base value of 100, with levels above 100 representing the percentage of home-value appreciation since January 2000.

The 20-city composite fell 0.4 percent, to an index level of 145.32, from December to January. And year-over-year in January, the 20-city index dropped 0.7 percent.

That is an improvement over December, when the 20-city index showed a year-over-year drop of 3.1 percent.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the 20-city composite index rose 0.3 percent from December to January.

"The report is mixed. While we continue to see improvements in the year-over-year data for all 20 cities, the rebound in housing prices seen last fall is fading. Fewer cities experienced month-to-month gains in January than in December 2009, on both a seasonally adjusted and unadjusted basis," said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at Standard & Poor’s, in a statement.

According to the report, "annual rates for the two composites have not been this close to a positive (point) since January 2007." January’s prices were comparable to those in the fall of 2003, the report said.

A separate report, released this month by data and analytics company Radar Logic, found that the price per square foot of homes rose in eight of 25 U.S. markets tracked in January compared to the same month a year earlier.


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