The price of homes in 20 major U.S. cities posted an average rise of 1.2 percent in August, the fourth consecutive monthly gain, according to a monthly housing report released Tuesday.
The news delivered by Standard & Poor's Case-Shiller Home Price Index has some economists predicting that prices have bottomed out, but others fear the recovery is only temporary, propped up by government aid with an expiration date.
"We do want to remind people of the upcoming expiration of the federal first-time buyer's tax credit in November and anticipated higher unemployment rates through year-end," David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P, said in a statement. "Both may have a dampening effect on home prices."
All told, prices in August of 2009 are still below what they were in August of 2008. But this August, prices rose in 17 of 20 major cities, with the exceptions being Charlotte, Cleveland and Las Vegas.
Leading the pack on the positive news was Minneapolis, where prices were up 3.2 percent, followed by San Francisco, 2.8 percent, and Detroit, 1.9 percent.
Worst hit over the past 12 months has been Las Vegas, which is down nearly 30 percent, followed by Phoenix (down 25.1 percent), Detroit (22.6 percent) and Miami (down 18.8 percent).
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