Home Prices Again Making Progress: Industry Report

Home prices overall have improved now for seven straight months, according to one leading industry barometer – a definitive vote of confidence for the nation’s housing recovery.

The Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller Home Price Index released Tuesday once again showed moderation in the annual declines of residential prices. August readings for S&P’s 10-city and 20-city composites were down by 10.6 percent and 11.3 percent, respectively, compared to the same month last year.

Nineteen of the 20 cities included in the study showed an improvement in their annual rates of return. Cleveland was the only exception. Even the hard-hit metros of Florida reported less-than-expected declines for the year, and much-needed short-term gains for the month.

The month-to-month data certainly paints a sunny picture. Only Charlotte, Cleveland, and Las Vegas reported monthly declines from July to August. Minneapolis and San Francisco saw price gains of more than 2 percent, and nine of the metros studied recorded monthly returns greater than 1 percent.

The 10-city and 20-city composites increased 1.3 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively, from July to August. The composites have risen for four consecutive months, but Robert Shiller, namesake and co-developer of the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, cautions that the recent gains may be superficial.

Shiller told Reuters Television that the pace of increases in some areas of the country appear to be in “bubble territory” – namely in cities such as Minneapolis and San Francisco, where prices have risen by double-digits in a mere four months.

 

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