(Marketwatch) — “We’re all hoping that this spring and summer will bring about a housing rally, but there are too many impediments for that to happen,” said Anthony Sanders, a professor of finance and real estate at George Mason University. Some are using the dreaded phrase “double dip” to describe trends in the housing market today — particularly regarding home prices that began to show signs of improvement, but then petered out and began falling again, deflating hopes that the market had started to recover. That may be especially true in the West, where, according to Clear Capital, home prices in the region dropped 4.3% in the first quarter, compared with the fourth quarter, hitting “double-dip territory.” Prices seem to be flattening elsewhere in the country, the firm said. Clear Capital is a data provider of real-estate asset valuation and risk assessment. Nationally, home prices were down an average 3.1% in January, compared with the year before, according to the Case-Shiller home-price index, which takes into account prices from 20 major cities across the country.