Home prices declined to summer 2003 levels in February and are on the verge of falling through the previous bottom set in April of 2009, which would constitute a dreaded double-dip, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices.

The data, released Tuesday morning, show that home prices in the top-10 measured cities fell 1.1% from January and 2.6% from February, 2010. Prices in the top-20 measured cities were down 1.1% and 3.3%, respectively.

The 10-City Composite Index stood at 152.70, the 20-City at 139.27, at the end of February. The peak-to-February 2011 declines for the 10-City Composite and 20-City Composite are -32.5% and -32.6%, respectively. The 10-City Composite remains only 1.5% its bottom in April of 2009; the 20-City Composite is virtually back to its April 2009 trough level. Any reading below that constitutes a double-dip by S&P's definition.

"There is very little, if any, good news about housing," said David M.Blitzer, chairman of S&P's Index Committee. "Prices continue to weaken, trends in sales and construction are disappointing."

He added, "Atlanta, Cleveland and Las Vegas join Detroit as cities with home prices below their 2000 levels, and Phoenix is barely above its January 2000 level after a new index low.The one positive is Washington D.C. with a positive annual growth rate, plus 2.7%, and home prices more than 80% over its January 2000 level. Other cities holding on to large gains from 11 years ago include Los Angeles (68.25%), New York (65.19%) and San Diego (55.05%)."

Twelve of the 20 MSAs and both Composites posted steeper annual growth rates in February compared to January. Atlanta, Cleveland, Dallas, Detroit, Phoenix, Portland (OR) and Washington D.C. saw improvements in their annual rates of return in February versus January; New York was unchanged.

Ten MSAs posted new index level lows for the third consecutive month in February 2011: Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Las Vegas, Miami, New York, Phoenix, Portland (OR), Seattle and Tampa. Detroit, which had posted a recent index level low in January 2011, is the only city that showed a monthly improvement of +1.0% in February 2011.

The biggest sequential loss came in Minneapolis, which lost 3.1% of home value, followed by San Francisco at -2.6% and Chicago at -2.2%. The largest drop year-over-year occurred in Phoenix (-8.4%) followed by Minneapolis(-8.3%) and Chicago (-7.6%) and Seattle (-7.5%).