Prices of homes sold by owner/occupants are rising for the first time in years and there has been modest price appreciation in January and February, according to a new CoreLogic report.

"In fact, non-distressed home sale prices, which represent two-thirds of all sales, have appreciated by just over 1% since the beginning of the year,” said Anand Nallathambi, president and chief executive of CoreLogic.

Excluding foreclosure and short sales, the CoreLogic house price index shows that house prices rose 0.7% in February from the prior month and are down just 0.8% from a year ago.

Including distressed sales, prices have fallen for seven consecutive months including 0.8% in the month of February.  Overall, prices are down 2% from February 2011 when distressed sales are counted.

"The continued strength of sales activity and tightening inventories in many markets are early and hopeful signs that prices will continue to stabilize and improve in coming months," the CoreLogic CEO said.

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