This chart demonstrates the annual returns on homes in both a collection of 10 cities and a collection of 20 cities that the firm tracks. According to Standard & Poor's, home prices in both the 10 and 20 city indexes fell by 12.8% and 13.3%, respectively, in July 2009 compared to July 2008. But all 20 metro areas also showed an improvement in the annual rates of decline, with July's readings compared to June.
"The rate of annual decline in home price values continues to decelerate, and we now seem to be witnessing some sustained monthly increases across many of the markets," said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at Standard & Poor's.
The chart at left suggested a gradual moving upwards in home prices, this chart below provides an indication of how far down the market remains. Essentially, according to both the 10-city and 20-city indexes, home prices are where they were in 2003. From their highs in the second quarter of 2006, 33.5% for the 10-city index and 32.6% in the 20-city index.
In terms of annual declines, despite the overall improvement, all metro areas and the two composites remain in negative territory, with 14 of the 20 metro areas and both composites in double digits, S&P reported. On the positive side, Cleveland, Dallas and Denver are nearing positive territory, with July readings of negative 1.3%, negative 1.6% and negative 2.9%, respectively. Las Vegas posted its lowest index level in July since its peak in August of 2006, resulting in a 54.8% peak to trough decline.