Average home prices increased by 0.9 percent for both the 10- and 20-City Case-Shiller Composites in August versus July and 19 of the 20 cities posted positive monthly gains in August. However, on a year-over-year basis, no market came remotely close to touching Phoenix’s 18.8 percent increase in prices.
Phoenix posted its fourth consecutive month double-digit increase in annual rates and was the best performing city among the 20 cities followed by S&P Dow Jones Indices. The 10- and 20-City Composites recorded annual returns of 1.3 percent and 2.0 percent in August– an improvement over the 0.6 percent and 1.2 percent respective annual rates posted for July. Annual returns for Dallas remained unchanged at 3.6 percent and Chicago saw its annual return worsen from -1.0 percent in July to -1.6 percent in August. Only three cities posted negative annual returns in August: Atlanta with -6.1 percent, New York at -2.3 percent and Chicago at -1.6 percent.
“Phoenix continues to lead the home price recovery. It recorded its fourth consecutive month of double-digit positive annual returns with a 18.8 percent rate for August. Atlanta posted a -6.1 percent annual rate, however this is significantly better than the nine consecutive months of double-digit declines it posted from October 2011 through June 2012. Las Vegas’ annual rate finally moved to positive territory with a 0.9 percent annual rate of change in August 2012, its first since January 2007.
“News on home prices confirms other good news about housing. Single family housing starts are 43 percent ahead of last year’s pace, existing and new home sales are also up, the inventory of homes for sale continues to drop and consumer mortgage default rates are reaching new lows. Further consumer confidence continues to rise. Even as we end the seasonally strong home buying period, the statistics are positive. For the fifth time in a row, both Composites had monthly gains. Home prices in Seattle fell modestly in August, but other than that the 20 cities have also seen home prices generally improve since April,” Blitzer said.
Atlanta, Detroit and Las Vegas continued to post average home prices below their January 2000 levels. With an index level of 194.00, Washington DC is the city showing the biggest increase in average home prices since January 2000.