November 29, 2023

Nation’s Home Prices Rose 2% in August

WASHINGTON (AP) — Home prices rose in August in nearly all American cities, and many of the markets hit hardest during the crisis are starting to show sustained gains. The increases were the latest evidence of a steady housing recovery.

The Standard Poor’s/Case-Shiller index that was released on Tuesday showed that national home prices increased 2 percent in August compared with a year earlier. This was the third straight increase and a faster pace than in July.

The report also said that prices rose in August from July in 19 of the 20 cities tracked by the index. Prices had risen in all 20 cities in the previous three months.

Cities that had experienced some of the worst price declines during the housing crisis are starting to come back. Prices in Las Vegas rose 0.9 percent, the first year-over-year gain since January 2007. Prices in Phoenix are 18.8 percent higher in August than a year earlier. Home values in Tampa and Miami have also posted solid increases over the period.

Seattle was the only city to report a monthly decline. Still, prices there fell just 0.1 percent in August from July and are 3.4 percent higher than a year earlier.

Prices in Atlanta have fallen 6.1 percent over the 12 months that ended in August, the largest year-over-year decline. But Atlanta has posted the largest price gain among the 20 cities over the last three months, according to Trulia, a housing analysis firm.

“The sustained good news in home prices over the past five months makes us optimistic for continued recovery in the housing market,” said David Blitzer, chairman of the Case-Shiller index.

The steady increase in prices has helped many home markets slowly rebound nearly six years after the housing bubble burst, lifted further by the lowest mortgage rates in decades.

The S. P./Case-Shiller index covers roughly half of American homes. It measures prices compared with those in January 2000 and creates a three-month moving average. The figures are not seasonally adjusted, so some August gains reflect the benefit of the summer buying season.

Stan Humphries, chief economist at the housing Web site, expects the monthly price figures will decline in the fall and winter. “This doesn’t mean the housing recovery has been derailed,” he said. “This is exactly what bouncing along the bottom looks like.”

Other recent reports, on construction and sales, have also shown an improving market, albeit from depressed levels.

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