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Home Prices Haven't 'Turned,' But Some Edged Up As Quarter Ended

A "sold" sign earlier this year in Palo Alto, Calif.
Paul Sakuma
A "sold" sign earlier this year in Palo Alto, Calif.

Home prices slipped further in the first quarter, according to the widely watched S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices. It reports that:

"The national composite fell by 2.0% in the first quarter of 2012 and was down 1.9% versus the first quarter of 2011. The 10- and 20-City Composites posted respective annual returns of -2.8% and -2.6% in March 2012. Month-over-month, their changes were minimal; average home prices in the 10-City Composite fell by 0.1% compared to February and the 20-City remained basically unchanged in March over February. However, with these latest data, all three composites still posted their lowest levels since the housing crisis began in mid-2006."

"Housing prices have not turned," David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Indices, says in the report.

Still, there is this modestly good news buried in the numbers: While prices overall were down for the quarter and were below the already low-levels of a year earlier, in 12 cities they did tick up in March from February, as the quarter ended. Those places:

-- Charlotte, up 1.2 percent from February.

-- Cleveland, up 0.4 percent

-- Dallas, up 1.6 percent.

-- Denver, up 1.5 percent.

-- Los Angeles, up 0.1 percent.

-- Miami, up 0.9 percent.

-- Phoenix, up 2.2 percent.

-- San Diego, up 0.4 percent.

-- San Francisco, up 1 percent.

-- Seattle, up 1.7 percent.

-- Tampa, up 1.3 percent.

-- Washington, D.C., up 1 percent.

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.