US Home Prices Flirt With Recovery
August 28, 2012
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U.S. home prices were again up in June, continuing to stage a recovery from cycle lows seen earlier this year, and fueling sentiments that perhaps the market that was at the epicenter of the 2008 credit crisis might be finally finding a permanent bottom.
Home values across the U.S., on average, remain roughly a third off their 2006 peak levels, but the price trajectory now seems to be pointing higher, as all 20 cities surveyed for the monthly S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index saw price improvement again in June, the second month in a row.
Indeed, the latest report showed that the 10-City and 20-City composites saw month-on-month gains of 2.2 and 2.3 percent, respectively, in June. Both composites have now rebounded some 6 percent from the most recent cycle lows forged back in March.
"We are aware that we are in the middle of a seasonal buying period, but the combined positive news coming from both monthly and annual rates of change in home prices bode well for the housing market," David Blitzer, chairman of S&P Dow Jones Indices' index committee, said in the report.
"We seem to be witnessing exactly what we needed for a sustained recovery; monthly increases coupled with improving annual rates of change," he added. "The market may have finally turned around."
From an annual perspective, home prices on a national level were up 1.2 percent at the end of the second quarter year-on-year after the U.S. National Composite—the benchmark that includes all nine U.S. census divisions and is released only once every quarter—rose nearly 7 percent in the second quarter alone.
Both the 10-City and 20-City composites were also higher in June from where they were just a year ago, even if marginally—the 10-City was up 0.1 percent on the year while the latter was up 0.5 percent.
All in all, a home in the U.S. today, on average, costs roughly what it did back in early 2003.
Detroit was the best-performing market in June, with home prices there rising 6 percent from May levels. But it's worth noting that a home in Detroit today still costs less than it did in January 2000, something that can also be said about Atlanta and Las Vegas.
Another market of note is Phoenix, where home prices have improved nearly 14 percent in the past year—the best annual recovery among all 20 markets surveyed. By comparison, home prices in Atlanta in June remained 12 percent lower than they were just a year ago.
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