Home prices fell 1.7 percent between September and October, according to data released Tuesday morning by Denver-based Integrated Asset Services, LLC, a default management and collateral valuation specialist. The company's IAS360 home price index for October found an annual decline of 12.9 percent during the month, compared to a 13.3 percent annual decline recorded in September -- providing some evidence that while home prices continue to fall, they may be doing so at a slightly slower rate than in previous months. Housing prices at the national level continue to look bleak, of course. At the census region level, results for October show all four U.S. Census regions experiencing declines in house prices, with the South and West experiencing double digit declines year-over-year of 10.2 percent and 18.7 percent, respectively. All nine U.S. Census Divisions posted declines during the month, as well. Mountain, Pacific and South Atlantic census divisions posted double digit year-over-year declines of 12.4 percent, 20.0 percent and 10.6 percent, respectively. "We're continuing to see a decline in housing prices across the country and at the county level. That said, we're also seeing some signs of strengthening in counties that are located in ground zero states of the housing crisis," said Dave McCarthy, president and CEO of Integrated Asset Services. "With the IAS360 and the other granular Integrated Asset Services iMVI data, we are keeping a close eye on the counties within hard hit states, because it's these counties that will be the harbinger of signs of a market recovery." In particular, the IAS360 data shows signs of improvement in parts of Arizona and Florida, two of the hardest hit states in the country. Maricopa County in Arizona, for example -- the nation's fourth largest county, home to half of the state's residents, and including Phoenix -- saw prices rise slightly 0.3 percent between Sept. and Oct., even though prices remain 11.8 percent below year-ago levels. Other, smaller counties in Arizona, as well as smaller counties in Florida, also saw monthly improvements in the IAS360 HPI (see chart, above). But a review of the available county-level data from IAS suggests these instances are the exception rather than the norm: of the nation's top 50 counties tracked by the company, only 5 posted monthly price gains, and only one -- Cook County, IL -- posted an annual price gain. For more information, visit http://www.iasreo.com. Write to Paul Jackson at paul.jackson@housingwire.com.