Home prices up 3.8% in April - but don't celebrate

By Les Christie, staff writer


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Home prices rose 0.8% in April compared with March and were up 3.8% from a year ago, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index of 20 major housing markets.

That good news is tempered by a couple of factors. First, the one-year comparison was against a low-ebb mark. In April 2009, prices were just above a five-year low. Overall, prices are off 30% from their peak

Secondly, the improvement came during a time when the federal government was heavily subsidizing home sales through an $8,000 homebuyer's tax credit. That credit is about to expire.

"Other housing data confirm the large impact, and likely near-future pullback, of the federal program," said David Blitzer, a spokesman for Standard and Poor's.

Once the tax credit fully expires, home prices are likely to take a beating, according to Pat Newport, a housing market analyst for IHS Global Insight.

"The housing glut and foreclosures will drive the national Case-Shiller index down another 6% to 8%, with prices bottoming in 2011," he said.

The strongest rebound has been in California, where S&P tracks three major markets. San Francisco prices jumped 2.2% month-over-month and are up 18% year-over-year, more than any other city in the 20-city index.

San Diego prices rose 0.7% compared with March and 11.7% since April 2009. Los Angeles prices rose 7.8% over the past 12 months, and 0.7% in April.

The biggest loser over the past 12 months has been Las Vegas, down 8.5%. Prices rose there 0.3% there month-over-month.

Only two cities saw values fall during the month. Miami prices fell 0.8% for the month, which pushed the city into negative territory for the year at -0.5%. New York dropped 0.3% month-over-month and is off 1% year-over-year.  To top of page


Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed3.92%3.97%
15 yr fixed3.00%3.08%
5/1 ARM3.48%3.44%
30 yr refi3.99%4.02%
15 yr refi3.10%3.16%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 18,132.70 -81.72 -0.45%
Nasdaq 4,963.53 -24.36 -0.49%
S&P 500 2,104.50 -6.24 -0.30%
Treasuries 2.00 -0.01 -0.69%
Data as of 6:54pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 15.81 -0.23 -1.43%
Apple Inc 128.46 -1.96 -1.50%
General Electric Co 25.99 0.10 0.39%
Microsoft Corp 43.85 -0.20 -0.47%
Chesapeake Energy Co... 16.68 -0.52 -3.02%
Data as of Feb 27

Sections

Bus drivers for Apple, Yahoo, Amtrak, eBay, Genentech and Zynga have unionized, following in the footsteps of drivers who shuttle Facebook employees. More

Potential presidential candidate says that improvement in unemployment rate is due to millions of jobless not being counted. More

The top 5 consumer complaints have to do with identity theft, debt collectors, imposters, telephone companies and banks. More