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For the first time in eight months, home prices rose in April in major U.S. cities, according to a Standard & Poor's report. Prices rose in 13 of the 20 cities surveyed, led by Washington, D.C., then San Francisco, Atlanta, and Seattle. The report uses composite indices of 10 and 20 cities, both of which rose: "The 10- and 20-City Composites were up 0.8% and 0.7%, respectively, in April versus March. Both indices are lower than a year ago; the 10-City Composite fell 3.1% and the 20-City Composite is down 4.0% from April 2010 levels." However, the Associated Press pointed out the glum side of the apparently good news: "The positive data released Tuesday came with a caveat: It was not adjusted for seasonal factors. When looking at seasonally adjusted numbers, prices actually fell." The uptick in home buying, and therefore home prices, probably had more to do with the improving weather than an improving real estate market, David M. Blitzer, chairman of Standard & Poor's index committee, told the AP. "It is much too early to tell if this is a turning point or simply due to some warmer weather." Still, it's nice to get a report that conveys something besides a general sense of dread about the future of your biggest investment.

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