S&P: Home prices rise in August

Numerous cities nationwide may see spikes in residential transactions as 2012 winds down, as home prices in major metropolitan areas improved in August when compared to July's figures.

Numerous cities nationwide may see spikes in residential transactions as 2012 winds down, as home prices in major metropolitan areas improved in August when compared to July's figures.

Prices for the 10-City Composite of the S&P/Case Shiller Home Price Indices rose 0.9 percent from July's level, while the 20-City Composite had the same jump. When examining the 20 cities in the report, only Seattle witnessed a drop in prices, which fell 0.1 percent.

Annual returns also improved for each price measurement. The report noted that the 10-City Composite improved 1.3 percent annually, while the 20-City Composite jumped 2 percent. All but two cities improved on the level recorded in July. Specifically, only New York, Chicago and Atlanta had annual declines during the month, while no city exceeded 6 percent.

"News on home prices confirms other good news about housing," said David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. "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."

Price gains substantial, but still below peak levels
The home price situation for both composite readings rose to levels not seen in nearly a decade, according to the report. Recently, the figures improved markedly. August's pricing levels were nearly 9 percent higher than this year's low point, recorded in the beginning of the year. However, property data showed prices remain far lower than the levels recorded during the cyclical peak in 2006. August's levels were close to 30 percent lower than the prices recorded during June and July 2006.

Home price improvements occurred for both purchase prices and asking prices in recent months. According to a report from Trulia, the asking home price rose 0.5 percent in September compared to August's figure. Additionally, the real estate records showed price level rose 1.6 percent in September from the previous quarter. A total of 86 of the 100 largest metropolitan statistical areas had improved pricing levels quarter-over-quarter.

Additionally, the Trulia Price Monitor showed prices rose 2.5 percent from September 2011, while nearly three-quarters of MSAs improved during that period.



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