Home prices continue to rise, according to a S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index report (link opens in PDF) released today. The national composite rose 3.6% for the third quarter, compared to last year's third quarter. The third quarter's results mark a 2.2% increase over the second quarter, and September's numbers ring in six straight months of home price improvements. 

All three headline composites (10-city, 20-city, and national) posted positive year-over-year gains for September, even as David Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, noted that unadjusted prices look grim as "we are entering the seasonally weak part of the year." 

The Phoenix housing market continues to improve at more than double the rate of its closest competitor, clocking in a 20.4% annual growth rate. Atlanta managed to pull itself out of a 26-month downward trend, notching a 0.1% increase in its September home prices.

Atlanta, Detroit, and Las Vegas are the only three cities with home prices still hovering below January 2000 levels. Detroit's home prices are more than 20% off that millennium mark,  despite a 7.6% seasonally adjusted quarterly price increase for 2012.