An increase in home prices for the month of August brings the housing market back to autumn 2003 levels, according to the Case-Shiller Home Price Index released today.
Average home prices increased by 0.9 percent across the nation during the month of August, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices released today.
Housing markets in 19 of the 20 major metropolitan areas tracked by Case-Shiller posted monthly gains in August, while home prices in Seattle fell 0.1 percent. Year-over-year prices rose 2 percent in the 20-City Composite index, and 1.3 percent in the 10-City Composite.
“Home prices continued climbing across the country in August,” David M. Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said in a statement. “The sustained good news in home prices over the past five months makes us optimistic for continued recovery in the housing market.”
The city of Phoenix continues to lead the recovery, realizing four consecutive months of double-digit year-over-year gains, including an 18.8 percent annual return for August, Blitzer said. Prices fell at a slower rate of 6.1 percent in the Atlanta housing market, which experienced nine consecutive months of double-digit declines from October 2011 through June 2012. Home prices in Las Vegas posted a positive annual return of .9 percent in August for the first time since January 2007.
Average home prices across the nation have returned to levels for the late summer and fall of 2003, according to Case-Shiller, and housing market values remain roughly 30 percent below the June/July 2006 peaks.
Strengthening home prices confirms other good news recently reported about the housing market, Blitzer said. “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.”
Another indicator of housing market health will be released on Thursday, when the Commerce Department announces construction spending for September. Construction spending fell 0.6 percent from July to August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $837.1 billion, but was 6.5 percent above the estimated $786.3 billion for August 2011.