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Home prices fall in major cities

A new study says home prices nationwide are falling.

A new study says home prices nationwide are falling.

Home prices fell in August, creating even stronger affordability conditions for families interested in moving into a new home, but exacerbating problems for those looking to sell a home of their own.

The S&P/Case-Shiller home price index found that home prices in August fell 0.2 percent compared with July, and were just 1.7 percent above levels of August 2009. Home values are now roughly where they stood in late 2003.

"The housing market continues to bounce along the recent lows," says David M. Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at Standard & Poor's. "At this time, it does not seem that any of the markets are hanging on to the temporary momentum caused by the homebuyers' tax credits."

The strongest year-over-year price growth was seen in California, where home prices in Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego are all more than 5 percent above where they were last August - good news for families looking to move away from the Golden State.

Part of what may be driving the price increases out west may be a lower number of foreclosures, which drag down home values. A report from MDA DataQuick of San Diego found that foreclosure activity in California during the third quarter was down 32.5 percent compared with a year ago.