Home prices up, but growth rate slows

By Les Christie, staff writer


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Home prices have risen for five straight months, but the rate of growth has slowed, according to an industry report released Tuesday.

Prices inched up 0.6% in July compared with June, according to S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index. On a year-over-year basis, prices rose 3.2% compared with July 2009.

Experts polled by Briefing.com had forecast a year-over-year rise of 3.3%. S&P's 10-city index has gained 4.1% over that period.

The weak readings reveal the ongoing strife in housing markets. Sales of both new and existing homes are well below the the standards set during the housing boom years. New home sales have been running at or near record lows.

"Anyone looking for home prices to return to the lofty 2005-2006 levels might be disappointed," said David Blitzer, spokesman for Standard and Poors. "Judging from the recent behavior of the housing market, stable prices seem more likely."

Half the 20 cities have recorded gains over the past year, led by San Francisco, where prices have risen by 11.2%.

Las Vegas is the only market to have hit a new low during July. Prices there fell 0.8% from a month earlier and were down 4.9% from 12 months ago. The loss from the price peak, set in August 2006, was 57%. To top of page


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