Saturday, September 15, 2012

Home prices notch first 12-month gain since 2010 -

WASHINGTON — WASHINGTON U.S. home prices rose in June from the same month last year, the first year-over-year increase since the summer of 2010.

Cities see increases

The S&P/Case-Shiller report showed that all 20 cities tracked by the monthly index rose in June from May, the second consecutive time in which every city posted month-over-month gains.

All but two cities posted stronger gains in June than May.

Detroit, Minneapolis, Chicago and Atlanta recorded the biggest one-month gains.

The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home price index released Tuesday showed a gain of 0.5 percent.

The last time the year-over-year index increased was in September 2010. For much of that 12-month period, the government was offering a home-buying tax credit.

"The combined positive news coming from both monthly and annual rates of change in home prices bode well for the housing market," said David Blitzer, head of the S&P's index committee.

Boost to sales. Jonathan Basile, an economist with Credit Suisse, said improving home prices should boost home sales further for months.

"Persistent news of rising house prices should start convincing prospective home sellers that it's not just a buyers' market," Basile said.

Seasonal buying a factor. The monthly index covers roughly half of U.S. homes. It measures prices compared with those in January 2000 and creates a three-month moving average. The June figures are the latest available.

The increases partly reflect the impact of seasonal buying. The month-to-month prices aren't adjusted for that.

Still, a measure of national prices rose for the third straight month. Home prices jumped nearly 7 percent in the April-June quarter compared to the previous quarter.

Slow, steady recovery. Sales of previously occupied homes increased in July from June, the National Association of Realtors said last week. Sales have jumped 10percent in the past year. Last month builders applied for the largest number of building permits in nearly four years last month.

Room to improve. The housing market has a long way to go. Some economists forecast that sales of previously occupied homes will rise 8 percent this year to about 4.6 million. That's still below the 5.5 million annual sales pace that is considered healthy.

By Martin Crutsinger, Associated Press Aug 29, 2012

Home prices notch first 12-month gain since 2010 -

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