U.S. Home Prices Reach Two-Year High

With nineteen of 20 major U.S. cities posting gains, home prices rose to their highest level in almost two years, according to data from S&P Dow Jones Indices.

The S& P/Case-Shiller 20-city composite index registered a non-seasonally adjusted 0.9 percent increase in August from July, and was up 2.0 percent from the previous year. While price growth slowed in August – it grew 1.6 percent in July – it still marked five straight months of increases.

The 10-city composite also posted a 0.9 percent monthly gain, but increased just 1.3 percent on a yearly basis.

“Home prices continued climbing across the country in August,” said David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices int the press release.

He added,

“News on home prices confirms other good news about housing. Single family housing starts are 43% ahead of last year’s pace, existing and new home sales are also up, the inventory of homes for sale continues to drop and consumer mortgage default rates are reaching new lows. Further consumer confidence continues to rise. Even as we end the seasonally strong home buying period, the statistics are positive.”

While Detroit posted the greatest monthly price gain with 2.3 percent, Phoenix took the cake for yearly price increases with a rise of 18.8 percent. Detroit had the next highest yearly gain with 7.6 percent.

Only Seattle had a negative monthly price point, losing 0.1 percent from July, while three cities fell price-wise from August 2011. Atlanta home prices dropped 6.1 percent, New York’s fell 2.3 percent, and Chicago saw a decrease of 1.6 percent.

Overall though, Blitzer says the report bodes well.

“The sustained good news in home prices over the past five months makes us optimistic for continued recovery in the housing market.

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