Home prices in 20 cities rose in November for the sixth consecutive month, another sign the housing industry is stabilizing.
The S&P/Case-Shiller home price index was up 0.2% from the previous month, on a seasonally adjusted basis, after a 0.3% rise in October, the index's publishers said Tuesday.
The gauge was down 5.3% from November 2008, exceeding expectations and the smallest year-over-year decline in two years.
"We're seeing what looks to be a bottoming out in prices," said Michelle Meyer, an economist at Barclays Capital Inc. in New York. "There is a risk we see further downside, given the large amount of foreclosures set to enter the market and the uncertainty of the effects of the homebuyer tax credit on prices."
Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News had estimated that November prices would be down 5% from a year earlier, according to the median of 27 projections. Estimates ranged from declines of 4.5% to 6%.
From its July 2006 peak, the 20-city price index was down 29%.
Compared with October, 14 of the 20 metropolitan areas covered showed increases, on a seasonally adjusted basis, and six had declines.
The biggest month-to-month gain was in Phoenix, where prices rose 1.6%. New York had the biggest decline, 0.9%.
San Francisco reported the second-biggest increase, 1.5%, and Los Angeles and San Diego had 1% gains each; Portland, Ore., had a 0.9% gain.
"Some of the boom-to-bust markets in California are starting to see home prices appreciate as demand returns," Meyer said.