Overall, the annual rate of decline slowed to a drop of 3.9 percent in the third quarter compared with 5.8 percent in the second, the report said, noting, "Nationally, home prices are back to their first quarter of 2003 levels."
The S&P/Case-Shiller report said 14 of 20 monitored cities showed an improved annual rate of change in September compared with August. Atlanta, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Tampa, Fla., posted lower annual declines in September compared with August. Detroit and Washington posted positive annual rates of 3.7 percent and 1 percent, receptively, the report said.
Although "the plunging collapse of prices seen in 2007-09 seems to be behind us ... home prices drifted lower in September and the third quarter," said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Indices.
"The National Index was down 3.9 percent versus the third quarter of 2010 and up only 0.1 percent from the previous quarter," he said.
In addition, Atlanta, Las Vegas and Phoenix posted new index lows in September, while 17 of 20 cities and both the 10-city index and the 20-city index were down for the month, Blitzer said.
"Over the last year home prices in most cities drifted lower. ... Any chance for a sustained recovery will probably need a stronger economy," he said.