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Too early to say house prices are recovering

By Holden Lewis · Bankrate.com
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Posted: 11 am ET

House prices were mixed in February compared to a year earlier, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index. Prices were up in some places but down in more places.

"It is too early to say that the housing market is recovering," says David M. Blitzer of Standard & Poors. That's the bottom line. Don't make the mistake of concluding that house prices have bottomed out. Not everywhere, at least.

Case-Shiller's composite index of 10 large metro areas shows a 1.4 percent rise in prices in February, compared to February 2009. The 20-city composite index has prices up 0.6 percent -- even though house prices fell in 11 of those 20 cities.

In the 12 months ending this February, San Francisco had the biggest gain, with prices rising 11.9 percent, according to the Case-Shiller index. Las Vegas rolled the biggest loss; prices fell 14.6 percent.

California did well; prices were up in Los Angeles (5.3 percent) and San Diego (7.6 percent). Florida continues falling: Miami was down 4.4 percent and Tampa dropped 6 percent.

Blitzer, of S&P, cautions that foreclosures are rampant, and there are more to come. "As these homes are put up for sales, we may see some further dampening in home prices," he says.

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