The Wall Street Jounal

U.S. home prices logged their third monthly increase in August.

The S&P Case-Shiller indexes showed prices in 10 major metropolitan areas fell 10.6% in August from a year earlier but rose 1.3% from July. In 20 major metropolitan areas, home prices dropped 11.3% on the year but were up 1.2% from the previous month.

Compared with the previous month, only Charlotte, Cleveland and Las Vegas posted declines. Month-to-month gainers were led by Minneapolis, which posted a 3.2% gain, and San Francisco, which rose 2.8%. Cleveland fared worst, falling 0.5%.

Twelve of 20 major metropolitan areas posted price declines of more than 10% from a year earlier, with Las Vegas continuing to post the worst results. Nationally, home prices are at levels similar to the autumn of 2003.

As of August, the 10-city index is down 30.2% from its mid-2006 peak, and the 20-city is down 29.3%.

For the 17th straight month, every region posted year-over-year declines, although all except Cleveland showed an improvement over the previous month’s figures. Las Vegas was again the worst performer year-over-year, which posted a drop of 30%. Phoenix and Detroit followed with declines of 25% and 23%, respectively. The best year-on-year performer was Dallas, which posted a 1.2% decline.

The latest numbers come amid recent mixed data on the housing market. Last week, the Commerce Department said new-home building rose a third time in four months during September but didn’t erase all the declines in August.

The National Association of Realtors said demand for previously owned homes surged in September, but the National Association of Home Builders gauge of builders’ confidence slipped in October for the first time in four months because of the looming expiration of a big tax credit.