Standard and Poor's released the Case-Shiller Home Price Index this morning. This data looks back on home prices in January.

In January, on a seasonally adjusted basis, the 10 city index improved 0.4 percent while the 20 city index reported a 0.3 percent gain. This was the eighth consecutive month over month improvement in home prices, on a seasonally adjusted basis.

Looking at the non-seasonally adjusted data, the 10 city index fell 0.2 percent while the 20 city index reported a 0.4% decline. This is the sixth consecutive month over month decrease for the 10 city index and the fifth straight for the 20 city index, on an unadjusted basis.

David M.Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at Standard & Poor’s, communicated the findings of the report quite well:

“The report is mixed. While we continue to see improvements in the year-over-year data for all 20 cities, the rebound in housing prices seen last fall is fading"

“Other recent data on housing also paint a mixed picture. Housing starts continue at extremely low levels, recent reports of home sales suggest the market remains difficult, and concerns remain about further foreclosures and a large shadow inventory of unsold homes. We are in a seasonally weak part of the year, but given the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price data reported today, we can’t say we’re out of the
woods yet.”

Plain and Simple: we need home buyer tax credit demand and government mortgage rescue plans to kick in soon or housing will be experiencing a double-dip.