The S&P/Case-Shiller home price index for December was higher for the ninth consecutive month. The 20-city composite rose 6.8% year-over-year in December, in line with the consensus estimate, and well above the November increase of 5.5%.
On a month-over-month basis, December prices were up 0.2% on the 10- and 20-city composite. The national composite index rose 7.3% in 2012. From their peaks in June/July 2006, both the 10- and 20-city composites are down about 30% through December.
The chairman of the S&P index committee said:
Housing and residential construction led the economy in the 2012 fourth quarter. In December’s report all three headline composites and 19 of the 20 cities gained over their levels of a year ago. Month-over-month, 9 cities and both Composites posted positive monthly gains. Seasonally adjusted, there were no monthly declines across all 20 cities.
Phoenix continues to lead the recovery in house prices, up 23% year-over-year, while only New York has posted an annual decline of 0.5%. Chicago’s year-over-year growth is just 2.2%.
S&P also notes that the largest gains might be behind us:
These movements, combined with other housing data, suggest that while housing is on the upswing some of the strongest numbers may have already been seen.
The full press release is available here.