Wednesday, September 26, 2012

US home prices rack up third monthly gain

Posted: 26 September 2012 0117 hrs

WASHINGTON: US home prices rose for the third straight month in July, jumping 1.6 percent over the previous month, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index released on Tuesday.

The monthly gain was a fresh sign that the industry has climbed out of its second recession in home prices since the housing bubble collapsed in 2006-2007, pulling the US economy down with it.

All 20 major urban areas in the Case-Shiller index showed net price gains, the strongest in Minneapolis and Detroit.

Home prices remained very low, only at the August 2003 levels, however.

The year-on-year gain for the 20 cities measure was just 1.2 percent, because prices remained in a slump through all of 2011.

Those with the strongest year-on-year gain included Phoenix, Arizona, up 16.6 percent, and Minneapolis, Minnesota, up 6.4 percent.

Atlanta, Georgia, remained in a bad slump, down 9.9 percent for the year through July, and New York City prices were also lower by 2.6 percent.

"The news on home prices in this report confirm recent good news about housing," said David Blitzer of S&P Dow Jones Indices.

"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."

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