The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, released Tuesday, showed continued improvement in home prices in July.

The 10-City Index rose 0.8% from June; the 20-City was up 0.6%. The growth rate slowed from June, when the indices were up 1% each. On an annual basis, the 10-City was up 4.1% in July over the same month last year, a slowdown from the 5% posted in June, and the 20-City was up 3.2%, a drop from the 4.2% rate of increase in June.

The slowdown notwithstanding, the rate of increase was seen as a positive by S&P. "While we could still see some residual support from the homebuyers¹ tax credit, which covers purchases closing through September 30th, anyone looking for home price to return to the lofty 2005-2006 might be disappointed," said David M. Blitzer, chairman of S&P's index committee. "Judging from the recent behavior of the housing market, stable prices seem more likely."

"The next few months may give us an idea of the true strength of the housing market, as the temporary economic stimuli will have ended,"said Blitzer. He sounded a note of caution, however: "Housing starts, sales and inventory data reported for August do not show signs of a robust market, and foreclosures continue.²

Las Vegas was again the worst performer, dropping 0.8% from June to an index of 100.91, 4.9% below July 2009 and nearing the wipeout of all gains made during the housing boom of the 2000s. Home prices there have now fallen 57% from their 2006 peak.

Among other markets, Atlanta's index was 109.92, up 0.2% from June but down 0.2% year-over year. Boston, at 158.83, was up 0.6% sequentially and 2.8% year-over-year. Charlotte, at 117.03, was down 0.2% and 3.5% respectively. Chicago, at 126.17, was up 1.0% and down 1.7%. Cleveland, at 107.31, was flat and down 0.6%. Dallas, at 120.75, was down 0.3% and down 0.4%. Denver, at 128.72, was down 0.4% and down 0.1%. Detroit, at 71.17, was up 1.6% and 1.3%, respectively.

Los Angeles clocked in with 176.27, up 0.3% sequentially and 7.5% year over year. Miami, at147.88, was up 0.7% and 0.4%, respectively. Minneapolis, at 127.01, was up 0.8% and up 6.4%. New York, at 174.90, jumped 1.3% from June and was up 0.6% from last July. Phoenix, at 110.30, was down 0.6% but up 3.4%. Portland, at 148.33, was down 0.3% and down 1.2%. San Diego, at 165.02, was up 0.7% and up 9.3%. San Francisco, at 143.23, was up 0.5% and up 11.2%. Seattle, at 147.04, was up 0.1% but down 1.6%. Tampa, at 138.24, fell 0.2% and was down 3.2%.

Washington remained the nation's best performing market with an index of 187.98, up 1.1% from June and up 6.5% year-over-year.