Data released last week by ""Standard & Poor's"":http://www.standardandpoors.com indicates the fourth quarter of 2011 started with broad-based declines in home prices.
The 20-city composite of S&P's closely watched Case-Shiller index was down 1.2 percent in October versus September, while the 10-city composite reading registered a 1.1 percent drop.
Home prices fell in 19 of the 20 cities covered by the ""S&P/Case-Shiller index"":http://www.standardandpoors.com/indices/sp-case-shiller-home-price-indices/en/us/?indexId=spusa-cashpidff--p-us. Phoenix was the only metro area to see a month-over-month increase, with prices there rising 0.3 percent.
David M. Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Indices, says Atlanta and the Midwest are regions that really stand out in terms of recent relative weakness.[COLUMN_BREAK]
He notes that Atlanta was down 5.0 percent over the month of October, after having fallen by 5.9 percent in September.
Chicago, Cleveland, and Minneapolis Ã¢â‚¬" some of the strongest markets during the spring and summer buying season Ã¢â‚¬" all saw monthly declines of 1.0 percent or more in October.
On a year-over-year basis, the 10- and 20-city composites posted declines of 3.0 percent and 3.4 percent, respectively, when compared to October 2010.
Detroit (+2.5 percent) and Washington D.C. (+1.3 percent) were the only two cities to record positive annual returns. Atlanta posted the worst year-over-year result with an 11.7 percent decline.
S&P notes, however, that 14 of the 20 metros and both composite readings recorded improved annual returns when compared to the agency's previous report. Miami saw no change, while Atlanta, Detroit, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Minneapolis saw their annual rates worsen.
According to the S&P/Case Shiller index, the crisis low for the 20-city composite was back in March 2011. The 20-city reading in October is about 1.9 percent above that recent double-dip mark.
The index's 10-city composite hit its crisis low quite earlier in the cycle, in April 2009, S&P says. October's 10-city assessment is about 2.4 percent above its relative low.