Home prices were down from a year ago in 18 of 20 markets tracked through September by the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-City Composite index, although the annual rate of change improved in most of those markets.

Detroit and Washington, D.C., were the only markets posting annual growth, with prices in Detroit up 3.7 percent from a year ago. Meanwhile, Atlanta, Las Vegas and Phoenix hit new lows.

The "plunging collapse" of prices in 2007-09 "seems to be behind us," said David Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Indices, in a statement.

But, he added, it’s "a bit disturbing that we saw three cities post new crisis lows. For the prior three or four months, only Las Vegas was weakening each month. Now Atlanta and Phoenix have fallen to new lows, too."

Atlanta posted a record drop of 5.9 percent from August to September, leaving prices down 9.8 percent from a year ago. Prices were down 1.4 percent from August in Las Vegas, and 7.3 percent from a year ago.

"The markets are fairly thin, and the relative lack of closed transactions might be exacerbating the downside," Blitzer said. "The relative good news is that 14 cities saw improvements in their annual rates of change, versus the six that weakened."

The S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index, which covers all nine U.S. census divisions, registered 3.9 percent annual decline in the third quarter of 2011, with home prices back at early 2003 levels.

S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices


Sept. ’11-Aug. ’11 change

Change from year ago


-5.9% -9.8%


-0.8% -1.2%


-0.9% -2.6%


-0.8% -5.0%


-1.2% -3.1%


-0.6% -0.8%


-0.8% -1.5%


-0.5% 3.7%

Las Vegas

-1.4% -7.3%

Los Angeles

-0.8% -4.2%


-0.7% -4.0%


-0.9% -7.4%

New York

0.1% -2.6%


-0.2% -6.5%


0.1% -5.7%

San Diego

-0.8% -5.4%

San Francisco

-1.5% -5.9%


-1.1% -6.5%


-1.5% -6.7%


1.2% 1.0%


-0.4% -3.3%


-0.6% -3.6%

U.S. National Index

0.1% -3.9%

Source: S&P Indices and Fiserv

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