U.S. home prices decline slowly: VIDEO

Despite again showing negative annual returns in home prices, the Case-Shiller index offered some reasons for optimism — although not necessarily to one of its creators (see video below). U.S. home prices fell 1.9 percent in April, according to the 20-city composite in S&P’s Case-Shiller Index. It’s the smallest rate of decline since November 2010; in March, prices fell 2.6 percent year-over-year. This April’s home price index was 1.3 percent greater than it was in March.

Home prices in Miami were up 3.2 percent in April compared to the same month last year and rose 0.4 percent since March. April saw other improvements in Miami’s housing market with foreclosure rates in the Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall metropolitan area falling 1.61 percentage points from April 2011, as The Real Deal previously reported.

Miami showed the third best year-over-year improvement on the 20-city index in April, behind Minneapolis and Phoenix.

“It has been a long time since we enjoyed such broadbased gains,” said S&P Indices Chairman David Blitzer, referring to the monthly price gains in 19 of the 20 cities, and narrower annual losses in 18 of them. “While one month does not make a trend, particularly during seasonally strong buying months, the combination of rising positive monthly index levels and improving annual returns is a good sign.”

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Blitzer noted that the price gains weren’t completely due to seasonality, as adjusted data — which he admitted was not as accurate — revealed price gains in all but three statistical areas.

In a video on Reuters, Robert Shiller, one of the two professors behind the index, was decidedly less optimistic. Though home prices may rise, he said the long-term trend might still be a negative one for homeowners. — Adam Fusfeld