The home price figures from March, just released this week, bring some spring-like signs of hope in the Case Shiller Index. The signs of hope are rather small however.

First the seasonally adjusted 20 city index rose by .1%. Second, the number of cities that hit new lows in March was only 5 (including New York metro) as opposed to 9 in February. Third, seven cities, Charlotte, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Miami, Minneapolis and Phoenix showed increases over March of 2011.

We are continuously tracking the S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index, which examines the rise and fall of single family home prices in 20 major metropolitan areas of the United States and have designed our own chart to offer a useful analysis of the data as soon as it is released each month.

The chart is designed to track single family home prices in the New York City area, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and the Case Shiller Index of the 10 major metropolitan areas. We also include a trend line that shows how the index for the 10 major metro areas would have changed if home prices had appreciated at the historically expected 5% (See this Freddie Mac analysis of long term home price trendsWhither Home Values) . Our “normal” trend line starts at January 1993 and increases prices annually at 5%.

You can read details of the elements of the index here.