U.S. Home Prices Rising in August Evidence of Steady Housing Recovery

By Christopher S. Rugaber

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

The Standard & Poor's/Case Shiller index reported Tuesday that national home prices increased 2 percent in August compared with the same month a year ago. That's 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 suffered 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 ago. 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 ago.

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 past three months, according to Trulia, a housing data analysis firm.

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

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

Rising home prices encourage more people to put their homes on the market. They may also entice would-be buyers to purchase homes before prices rise further.

The S&P/Case-Shiller 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 August figures are the latest available.

The figures aren't seasonally adjusted, so some of the gains in August reflect the benefit of the summer buying season.

Stan Humphries, chief economist at the housing website Zillow, 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 bottom looks like."

Other recent reports show that the housing market is improving, albeit from depressed levels.

Home builders started construction on new homes and apartments at the fastest pace in more than four years last month. They also requested the most building permits in four years, a sign that many are confident that home sales gains will continue. Home building is still far below the pace that economists say is consistent with a healthy housing market.

New home sales jumped last month to the highest annual pace in the past two and a half years.

Sales of previously-occupied homes dipped in September but have risen steadily in the past year.

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Not bogus at all. In my town, Palm Springs, (Riverside County--one of the hardest hit areas in the mortgage crisis), homes and condos at all levels are moving--fast. In my development alone, we've seen 20 home sales with steadily rising values just this year! My home was recently appraised by a professional appraiser for a refi, and the appraisal came in nearly 30K higher than I paid 1 year ago. I do not encourage folks to buy unless they have a good down payment, but with 30 year rates at 3.5%, these rates will not last. You can actually pay less for your mortgage, taxes and insurance for less than the cost of a rental these days. Caveat--homes do require maintenance. Make sure the home or condo you buy is in good fundamental condition and that the HOA is well-run and financed. But I say, go for it. These rates will not stay this low and prices are very competitive and the inventory (though shrinking), is out there.

November 02 2012 at 11:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

just anoyher bogus story.come january we will all get the correct picture.

October 30 2012 at 4:28 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to dus48's comment

Why would S&P/Case Shiller publish bogus numbers? You seem confused.

October 30 2012 at 4:58 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to itacurubi's comment
Ron Schmitz

Must be Democrrats publishing this ultra rosey report. FYI, There is a very large "shadow inventory" of homes owned by the Banks, Fannie, Freddie & HUD that have not been released to the market yet. Prices aren't going anywhere until this inventory is liquidated. It would be nice to see non biased honest reporting on Huffington Post.

October 30 2012 at 3:20 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to Ron Schmitz's comment
Aviation Finance

Home Prices Fell nearly 50% nationwide and more in some areas.
In many / most markets You can't hardly GIVE real estate away at the moment.
So, a THIS "reported" "recovery" doesn't sound much like recovery to me......

Media Fabrication.......

October 30 2012 at 2:07 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Aviation Finance's comment

Perhaps you live in the wrong neighborhood. Location ... location ... location.

October 30 2012 at 3:20 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jack's comment

Demand no doubt remains depressed in Goat Lick. Maybe it's the schools. Or the neighbors.

October 30 2012 at 5:02 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down

Prices are way up in South Florida.

October 30 2012 at 5:01 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to itacurubi's comment

"Data" is not the plural of "anecdote".


October 30 2012 at 5:48 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down

I wish for some honest news , the reality is somewhat different but if this is the way to collect votes, or to be popular journalism then I suggest to look at the statistics of how many closings of properties there actually are.
Consider the Big 3 lenders Bof A , Chase., and Wells cant even market their asset sales on the open market because it would drive down the average home sales , therefore making it even harder for loan modifications. By the time the contracters that have been put in place recieve the green light to put Reos on the market its done at a trickles pace, so it doesnt really affect the average sales prices. Hud and Fannie/Freddie are going through the same thing where as they cant put out all their properties they took back as well. Again only at a trickles pace. So when you hear the news about home sales prices going up , then you have to scratch your head and realise ,hey this is not correct, the journalists are making it sound like everything is good again. Enough already with the lousy information.

October 30 2012 at 12:43 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply