U.S. home prices fell for a third straight month in nearly all cities tracked by a major index. The declines show that most homeowners are not reaping the benefits from some signs of an improving housing market.
The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home-price index shows prices dropped in November from October in 19 of the 20 cities tracked.
The biggest declines were in Atlanta, Chicago and Detroit. Phoenix was the only city to show an increase.
Prices declined in 18 of the 20 cities in November compared to the same month in 2010. Only Washington and Detroit posted year-over-year increases.
"As much as anything else, when one looks at housing there are hints at better times in terms of supply, in terms of single-family starts," David Blitzer, chairman of the Standard & Poor's Index Committee, told CNBC. "Prices will probably be the last thing to move. We have to get demand up, we have to tighten supply a bit before we will see any shift in prices and we haven't seen that."
The decline partly reflects the typical fall slowdown after the peak buying season. Still, prices have fallen 33 percent nationwide to 2003 levels.