Home prices increased for March, according to an S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index report (link opens as PDF) released today. After bumping up 0.8% for February, the index's 20-city home price composite headed a seasonally adjusted 0.9% higher for March. Analysts had expected a rise, but their 0.7% estimate proved slightly off. 

From a longer-term perspective, however, home price growth isn't what it used to be. From February's 12-month revised 12.9% gain, March's report puts year-over-year price growth at 12.4%.

"The year-over-year changes suggest that prices are rising more slowly," said David Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, in today's press release. "Annual price increases for the two Composites have slowed in the last four months and 13 cities saw annual price changes moderate in March."

Blitzer went on to say that housing indicators remain "mixed," with April housing starts and new home sales showing less-than-solid recoveries from rough numbers during this year's unseasonably cold winter. He also noted that bank lending standards and student loan debt may be stymieing a fast recovery.

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