House Prices Continue Upward Pace

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The S&P/Case-Shiller home price index for February was higher for the 11th consecutive month. The 20-city composite rose 9.3% year-over-year, more than the consensus estimate for a gain of 9%, and above the January increase of 8.1%. The 10-city index rose 8.6% year-over-year in February.

On a month-over-month basis, February prices were up 0.4% on the 10-city composite index and 0.3% on the 20-city composite. From their peaks in June and July 2006, both the 10-city and 20-city composites are down about 29% to 30% through February.

The chairman of the S&P index committee said:

Home prices continue to show solid increases across all 20 cities. The 10- and 20-City Composites recorded their highest annual growth rates since May 2006; seasonally adjusted monthly data show all 20 cities saw higher prices for two months in a row — the last time that happened was in early 2005.

Phoenix continues to lead the recovery in house prices, up 23% year-over-year, and every metropolitan area in the 20-city composite posted a positive year-over-year change in February. San Francisco (18.9%), Las Vegas (17.6%) and Atlanta (16.5%) trailed Phoenix in price recovery.

On a month-over-month basis, however, house prices dropped in eight cities: Charlotte (down 0.2%), Chicago ( 0.8%), Denver (0.2%), Washington, D.C. (0.5%), Cleveland (0.8%), Minneapolis (0.9%), Detroit (0.6%) and Seattle (0.2%).

The full press release is available here.

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