SOUTH FLORIDA (CBSMiami) – By now, we know the drill. For homeowners, it’s great news. For those looking to buy, it’s terrible.

Home prices in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties were up 8.5 percent in October from the same time last year, an increase that put them in fifth place for the highest annual gain on the Standard&Poor’s/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, reports CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald.

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The index, released Wednesday morning, showed South Florida losing some ground in October from September, with prices dropping less than a percentage point.

However, don’t be fooled by the recent downward trend; index experts caution it’s not a trend at all as said price drops are typical during the fall months.

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“Annual rates of change in home prices are a better indicator of the performance of the housing market than the month-over-month changes because home prices tend to be lower in the fall and winter than in spring and summer,” said David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee. “Looking over this report, and considering other data on housing starts and sales, it is clear that the housing recovery is gathering strength.”

The 20-city index composite showed a gain of 4.3 percent from last year. The Tampa market was up 5.9 percent.

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