There is a clear trend U.S. home prices declines are moderating _ another sign the beleaguered housing market is stabilizing, according to data released Tuesday.
While the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller index of 20 major cities tumbled by 18.1 percent, it marked the third straight month the decline was not a record. And yearly losses in 13 metros improved compared to March.
"The stock market bottomed in March and measures of consumer confidence have turned upward. This report shows that these better spirits are also appearing in the housing market," said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the S&P index committee.
Eight of the 20 metro posted price gains from March, with Dallas recording the largest increase at 1.7 percent. And every city except Charlotte showed some kind of improvement month-over-month.
Still, a housing recovery is distant on the horizon. The 20-city index is off almost 33 percent from its peak in the second quarter of 2006, which means home values are now around 2003-levels.
Hardest hit remain Phoenix and Las Vegas, where home prices have lost more than half their value since their peaks.
The Case-Shiller index tracks repeat sales on a specific group of homes in each city. Sales between related parties, such as family members, are excluded.