Report: National home prices drop, but changes in patterns are seen

Report says prices dropping nationally.Purchase prices for U.S. homes dropped by 3.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010, according to research released this week by S&P/Case-Shiller, but some large urban markets began to exhibit different trends.

The chairman of the company's index committee, David Blitzer, said in a statement that the trajectories of some major housing sectors have begun to diverge.

"Unlike the 2006 to 2009 period when all cities saw prices move together, we see some differing stories around the country. California is doing better with gains from their low points in Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco. At the other end is the Sun Belt – Las Vegas, Miami, Phoenix and Tampa. All four made new lows in December," he said.

Although Houston real estate was not specifically studied in the report, experts say the general trend for the area is good. Other recent studies – while not revealing any skyrocketing property values – showed generally positive movement and definite signs of an ongoing recovery from the housing crash.

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