Case-Shiller: Home Prices Post Strong Gains in August

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The S&P/Case-Shiller home price index for August posted another month of solid gains. The 20-city composite rose 12.8% year-over-year, above the consensus estimate for a rise of 12.4% for the month. The 10-city index also rose 12.8% year-over-year in August.

The index tracks prices on a three-month rolling average. August represents the three-month average of June, July and August prices.

On a month-over-month basis, August prices were up 1.3% on both the 10-city composite index and the 20-city composite indexes. The increases were smaller than the month-over-month rise in July. All 20 cities in the index posted gains on a monthly basis, with Las Vegas showing the largest gain at 2.9%. On an annual basis, prices rose the most in Las Vegas, up 29.2%. Index readings for both the 10-city and 20-city composites have returned to the levels of mid-2004.

The chairman of the S&P index committee said:

The monthly percentage changes for the 20-City composite show the peak rate of gain in home prices was last April. Since then home prices continued to rise, but at a slower pace each month. This month 16 cities reported smaller gains in August compared to July. Recent increases in mortgage rates and fewer mortgage applications are two factors in these shifts.

Since the last Case-Shiller index was released, home builder stocks have been bouncing around. The best performer has been PulteGroup Inc. (NYSE: PHM), up about 5.3%, followed by Lennar Corp. (NYSE: LEN), up about 4.8%. KB Home (NYSE: KBH) was up just 0.3% and D.R. Horton Inc. (NYSE: DHI) was down about 2.7%.

The iShares Dow Jones U.S. Home Construction (NYSEMKT: ITB) was inactive in the premarket this morning, having closed Monday at $23.11 in a 52-week range of $18.54 to $26.21.

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