United States: Home prices continue to recover
September 25, 2012
In July, the unadjusted S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city home price composite index increased 1.6% over the previous month. The figure followed the 2.3% rise registered in June and was broadly in line with market expectations of a 1.7% increase. The figure marks the fourth consecutive rise in the index, in which home prices have gained an accumulated 7.6%. On an annual basis, home prices are 1.2% above the level observed in same month last year, up from the 0.6% annual rise recorded in June. The reading marks the second consecutive month with an increase in annual terms, after home prices remained in negative territory for 20 consecutive months. 16 of the 20 cities surveyed posted gains over the same month last year. That said, despite the improvement seen in recent months, home prices still remain 29.8% below the peak reached in July 2006. According to S&P, "the news on home prices in this report confirm recent good news about housing. Single family housing starts are well ahead of last year's pace, existing home sales are up, the inventory of homes for sale is down and foreclosure activity is slowing", while concluding that, as a result, they are "more optimistic about housing".