By NICK TIMIRAOS and KELLY EVANS
Home prices in major U.S. cities registered the first monthly gain in nearly three years, according to a new report that provided fresh evidence that the severe U.S. housing downturn could be easing.
Standard & Poor's Case-Shiller index, which tracks home prices in 20 metropolitan areas, rose 0.5% for the three-month period ending in May, compared with the three months ending in April. It marked the index's first increase after 34 straight months of decline, and came after a variety of housing indicators has shown glimmers of hope for the past several months.
Home prices remained down about 17% from a year earlier, according to the index. According to S&P/Case-Schiller's seasonally adjusted numbers, which it began…