House prices up slightly in January but tough times still ahead

While year-over-year data continues to improve for all 20 cities in the index, Blitzer said, "the rebound in housing prices seen last fall is fading." He said fewer cities experienced gains from December to January on a seasonally adjusted and an unadjusted basis. Four cities -- Charlotte, Las Vegas, Seattle and Tampa -- saw prices hit new lows. 

The index provides a view of the first decade of the 2000s. The three best cities were New York, Washington and Los Angeles, all averaging prices 70 percent higher than the January 2000 level. Detroit was the worst city, recording prices at 28 percent below those of 10 years ago.