Denver-area home-resale prices rose 9 percent in December from a year earlier, close to November's 8.9 percent year-over-year gain after a few months in which the pace of 12-month price gains eased, according to the latest S&P/Case-Shiller Home Prices Index, released Tuesday.

But over a shorter term, Case-Shiller's index showed Denver prices down a bit from their September all-time high, based on non-seasonally-adjusted data. It was the 24th consecutive month with a year-over-year gain in Denver prices, according to the closely followed gauge of home resale prices in 20 U.S. cities.

Across all 20 cities, prices rose 13.4 percent from a year earlier. And a separate quarterly nationwide price comparison showed fourth-quarter U.S. home prices up 11.3 percent from a year earlier. According to Case-Shiller, Denver finished out 2013 with year-over-year home-resale price gains of 9 percent or more for 11 out of 12 months, with November's 8.9 percent being the exception.

Denver prices rose 9.5 percent in October, 9.9 percent in September and 10.1 percent in August from a year earlier. But month to month, Denver saw a 0.1 percent decline in home prices from November to December, not seasonally adjusted. (After seasonal adjustment, prices rose 0.8 percent month to month.) Denver's Case-Shiller home price index for December was 146.26, meaning that local home resale prices averaged 46.26 percent higher than they were in the benchmark month of January 2000.

That was down from November's 146.45 reading and September's 147.3 level, which was the highest ever for Denver. (The index is based on non-seasonally-adjusted data.) In all 20 metro areas tracked by Case-Shiller, home prices rose an average 13.4 percent in December from the previous year, but were off 0.1 percent month to month.

According to Case-Shiller, the greatest year-over-year price gains among the 20 cities in the report were in Las Vegas (up 25.5 percent), San Francisco (up 22.6 percent) and Los Angeles (up 20.3 percent). Those markets were hit harder than Denver during the recession, so they have been climbing out of a deeper hole.

There were no year-over-year declines among the 20 cities; the smallest gains were in Cleveland (up 4.5 percent) and New York (up 6.3 percent). The 20-city average price index in December was 165.69. The greatest gain since 2000 was in Los Angeles (with an index of 214.84) followed by Washington (204.06); Detroit was the only city with prices still below 2000 levels (an index of 94.63).

Speaking of the national numbers, David M. Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said Tuesday's report showed 2013 to be the index's "best year since 2005 [for price gains]. However, gains are slowing from month-to-month, and the strongest part of the recovery in home values may be over." He also noted that the nation's existing home sales fell 5.1 percent in January from the previous month, "to the slowest pace in over a year."

The Case-Shiller prices are for resales of stand-alone single-family homes only, not for new construction or condominiums, and are meant to reflect price changes for comparable home inventory. Case-Shiller does not report actual home sales prices. The Case-Shiller index is compiled by comparing matched-price pairs for thousands of single-family homes in each market. The index is now produced under the name of real estate data company CoreLogic Inc. (NYSE: CLGX), which bought Case-Shiller from Fiserv Inc. The index report is released by S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC, a subsidiary of The McGraw-Hill Cos. Case-Shiller is one of several popular measures of home prices, using different methodologies, covering different housing types and geographical areas, and giving somewhat different results.

Here are year-over-year price changes in the Denver area from the S&P/Case Shiller Home Prices Index report for recent years:

December 2013: Up 9.0 percent, index 146.26.
November 2013: Up 8.9 percent, index 146.45.
October 2013: Up 9.5 percent, index 146.78.
September 2013: Up 9.9 percent, index 147.3.
August 2013: Up 10.1 percent, index 146.95.
July 2013: Up 9.7 percent, index 145.63.
June 2013: Up 9.4 percent, index 143.37.
May 2013: Up 9.7 percent, index 140.98.
April 2013: Up 9.9 percent, index 138.28.
March 2013: Up 9.8 percent, index 135.79.
February 2013: Up 9.9 percent, index 133.90.
January 2013: Up 9.2 percent, index 134.17.
December 2012: Up 8.5 percent, index 134.14
November 2012: Up 7.8 percent, index 134.5.
October 2012: Up 6.9 percent, index 134.03.
September 2012: Up 6.7 percent, index 134.01.
August 2012: Up 5.5 percent, index 133.48.
July 2012: Up 5.4 percent, index 132.79.
June 2012: Up 4.0 percent, index 131.06.
May 2012: Up 3.7 percent, index 128.48.
April 2012: Up 2.8 percent, index 125.81.
March 2012: Up 2.6 percent, index 123.66.
February 2012: Up 0.5 percent, index 121.81.
January 2012: Up 0.2 percent, index 122.92.
December 2011: Down 0.4 percent, index 123.62.
November 2011: Down 0.2 percent, index 124.79.
October 2011: Down 0.9 percent, index 125.38.
September 2011: Down 1.5 percent, index 125.57.
August 2011: Down 1.6 percent, index 126.48.
July 2011: Down 2.1 percent, index 125.98.
June 2011: Down 2.5 percent, index 125.97.
May 2011: Down 3.3 percent, index 123.94.
April 2011: Down 4.1 percent, index 122.32.
March 2011: Down 3.8 percent, index 120.56.
February 2011: Down 2.6 percent, index 121.26.
January 2011: Down 2.3 percent, index 122.73.
December 2010: Down 2.4 percent, index 124.10.
November 2010: Down 2.5 percent, index 125.02.
October 2010: Down 1.8 percent, index 126.58.
September 2010: Down 1.6 percent, index 127.33.
August 2010: Down 1.2 percent, index 128.57.
July 2010: Down 0.1 percent, index 128.72.

Each month from October 2009 through June 2010, the Case-Shiller report showed year-over-year increases in Denver-area home prices. That ended in July 2010. Before October 2009, Denver saw 36 straight months of year-over-year price declines, peaking at a 5.7 percent drop in February 2009 from the year before.

By: Mark Harden, News Director - Denver Business Journal