A closely watched national index showed Tuesday that home prices crept up in July.
Prices of previously owned single-family homes rose 0.8% in July over June and 3.2% over July 2009, according to the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller index of 20 metropolitan areas.
Federal tax credits of up to $8,000 drove sales during the spring as first-time buyers flooded into the market, boosting sales of entry-level homes. Sales have come down since the expiration of those credits.
Tuesday's report encompasses data from July, June and April, when sales during those earlier two months were still being influenced by the credits. And although the increase was positive, the rate of home- price appreciation softened.
"The year-over-year growth rates for 16 of the cities ÃƒÂ‚Ã‚Â… weakened in July compared to June," said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at Standard & Poor's. "Anyone looking for home prices to return to the lofty 2005-2006 [era] might be disappointed."
Twelve out of the 20 cities increased in July over June. The non-seasonally adjusted index showed home prices in California cities continued to appreciate, with Los Angeles up 0.3% from June, San Diego up 0.7% and San Francisco up 0.5%.
Some of the cities that saw the biggest gains were Detroit, up 1.6% from the prior month; New York, 1.3%; Washington, 1.1%; and Chicago, 1%.
Cities that declined included Las Vegas, which fell the most, down 0.8%; Phoenix, down 0.6%; and Denver, 0.4%. Cleveland was the one city that was exactly flat in terms of appreciation.