House prices rose 1.2% in August from the previous month, according to the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller house price index, which is up 4.4% since May.

The 20-city HPI has registered three consecutive monthly increases but home prices are still down 11.3% from a year ago and 29.3% since the prices peaked in the second quarter of 2006.

"Broadly speaking, the rate of annual decline in home price values continues to improve," said David Blitzer, chairman of S&P's index committee.

The HPI data shows that prices rose in August from July in 17 of the 20 metropolitan areas. Only Charlotte, Cleveland and Las Vegas posted declines.

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