The rate of decline in home prices across the U.S. is slowing, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller Index for August, released on Oct 27. While home prices are still declining, the steep slope of the descent has abated a bit.

“While many of the markets remain down versus this time last year, the relative rate of decline has shown some real improvement. California, in particular, has seen some real positive prints in recent months. We see this general trend whether you look at the as-reported data or the seasonally adjusted figures,” said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at Standard & Poor’s. “Once again, however, we do want to remind people of the upcoming expiration of the Federal First-Time Buyer’s Tax Credit in November and anticipated higher unemployment rates through year-end. Both may have a dampening effect on home prices.”

Home prices are still substantially off from their second quarter 2006 peak. The 10-City and 20-City Composite Indexes are down 33.5% and 32.6%, respectively.

For the full S&P CSI release, please click here.