Home Prices Rise in July

by lgrant@solagroup.com

Data through July 2012, released today by S&P Dow Jones Indices for its S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, showed average home prices increased by 1.5 percent for the 10-City Composite and by 1.6 percent for the 20-City Composite in July versus June 2012. For the third consecutive month, all 20 cities and both Composites recorded positive monthly changes. It would have been a fourth had prices not fallen by 0.6 percent in Detroit back in April.

The 10- and 20-City Composites posted annual returns of +0.6 percent and +1.2 percent in July 2012, up from their unchanged and +0.6 percent annual rates posted for June 2012. Fifteen of the 20 MSAs and both Composites posted better annual returns in July as compared to June 2012. Dallas and Washington, D.C., saw no change in their annual rates; and Cleveland, Detroit and New York saw their rates worsen in July, with respective returns of +0.4 percent, +6.2 percent and -2.6 percent. After nine consecutive months of double digit annual declines, Atlanta finally improved to a -9.9 percent annual rate in July 2012, but still the worst among the 20 cities followed by S&P Dow Jones Indices.

In July 2012, the 10- and 20-City Composites posted annual increases of 0.6 percent and 1.2 percent, and were up 1.5 percent and 1.6 percent for the month, respectively.

“Home prices increased again in July,” says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “All 20 cities and both Composites were up on the month for the third time in a row. Even better, 16 of the 20 cities and both Composites rose over the last year. Atlanta remains the weakest city but managed to cut the annual loss to just under 10 percent.

“The news on home prices in this report confirm recent good news about housing,” Blitzer continues. “Single family housing starts are well ahead of last year’s pace, existing home sales are up, the inventory of homes for sale is down and foreclosure activity is slowing. All in all, we are more optimistic about housing. Upbeat trends continue.”

As of July 2012, average home prices across the U.S. are back to their summer 2003 levels for the 20-City Composite and to autumn 2003 levels for the 10-City Composite. Measured from their June/July 2006 peaks, the decline for both Composites is approximately 30 percent through July 2012. For both Composites, their July 2012 levels are approximately 7.5 to 8 percent above their recent early 2012 lows.

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are revised for the 24 prior months, based on the receipt of additional source data. More than 25 years of history for these data series is available, and can be accessed in full by going to www.homeprice.standardandpoors.com.

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