CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Charlotte home prices fell in November compared to October according to the Standard & Poor's Case-Shiller home-price indexes released Tuesday.

Prices, however, rose 5.1 percent compared to the previous year.

Officials with Standard & Poor s attributed the monthly dip to the housing market entering its traditionally slow time versus an industry decline.

Winter is usually a weak period for housing which explains why we now see about half the cities with falling month-to-month prices compared to 20 out of 20 seeing rising prices last summer, said David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. The better annual price changes also poitn to seasonal weakness rather than a reversal in the housing market.

Overall, the 20-city index fell 0.1 percent in November from October. Annually, the index rose 5.5 percent.

For the year, prices rose in 19 of the 20 cities with New York being the only metropolitan area to see a decline.

Regional patterns are becoming clear with the southwest, including hard-hit Las Vegas and Phoenix, staging a strong comback. The southeast is close behind in staging a recovery, the data shows.

Lower home prices, historically low interest rates and increasing consumer confidence have helped fuel Charlotte s real estate market. The number of distressed homes, including foreclosures, have been falling, boosting buyer confidence and helping raise prices.

As of November, average U.S. home prices are back to autumn 2003 levels, the report says.

Housing is clearly recovering, Blitzer said. Prices are rising as are both new and existing home sales. ... These figures confirm that housing is contributing to economic growth.

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