The Standard & Poor's Case-Shiller Index of home prices in 20 U.S. cities fell 3.2 percent in the first quarter from the fourth quarter of 2009, but was 2 percent higher than the same period of 2009.

The price index for those cities in March was 2.3 percent higher than in the same month in 2009. The monthly index has registered an improvement in home prices in each of the last 12 months.

"The housing market may be in better shape than this time last year; but when you look at recent trends there are signs of some renewed weakening in home prices," said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at Standard & Poor's.

"In the past several months we have seen some relatively weak reports across many of the markets we cover."

Philadelphia is not included among those markets.    - Alan J. Heavens