Charlotte home prices down 1.2% from a year ago

October prices in the NC metro area dropped 0.5% from September and fell 1.2% from October 2010

Home prices in Charlotte and in other major cities fell in October from the month before, an indication of lingering weakness in the U.S. housing market, according to a report released Tuesday.

Prices in the Charlotte metropolitan area decreased 0.5 percent from September and fell 1.2 percent from October 2010, according to the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, which tracks repeat sales.

Housing prices fell from September across the country, with 19 of the 20 markets the index tracks posting drops. Only Phoenix posted a jump from the month before.

Atlanta, Detroit and Minneapolis showed the steepest drops. Markets that were some of the strongest during the spring/summer buying season showed declines in October.

The Charlotte market is among one of the bright spots in the report, however. It's one of 14 metropolitan areas showing improvement in the annual rate of change in home prices from October 2010 to October 2011, compared to year-over-year in September.

Even though some annual rates are improving, "nationally, home prices are still below where they were a year ago," said David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at Standard & Poor's. "Atlanta and the Midwest are regions that really stand out in terms of recent relative weakness."

Locally, home prices could remain weak for a while. The Charlotte market will see a continued decline in home prices in 2012 and beyond, as foreclosures and other distressed sales become a larger part of the sales mix, Wells Fargo senior economist Mark Vitner recently predicted.

The latest data from the Charlotte Regional Realtor Association show local home sales rose year-over-year in November for the fifth straight month, but prices continued to fall. The average sales price of $192,472 fell 10.3 percent compared with the same time last year and dipped 1.2 percent from October.

The Case-Shiller report notes other mixed news in the housing market.

Nationally, existing home sales rose in November, but are still at a low annual rate. Single family housing starts rose, but remain close to record lows, according to the report.

Smith: 704-358-5087

Copyright 2011 - The Charlotte Observer, N.C.