U.S. home prices continued to rise in July, according to two
prominent surveys released today.
Home prices showed a one-month gain of 1.6 percent (0.4 percent
seasonally adjusted) in the newest Standard &
Poors/Case-Shiller index of home prices in 20 major metropolitan
areas. Meanwhile, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which
, reported a seasonally adjusted increase of 0.2 percent for the
month of July.
It was the fourth consecutive monthly increase in the S&P
index and the sixth consecutive monthly gain in the FHFA report.
Furthermore, it was the third straight month that all 20 cities in
the S&P index posted monthly gains, while 16 of the 20 showed
annual improvements over their July 2011 pricing.
"We Are More Optimistic"
"The news on home prices in this report confirm(s) recent good
news about housing," said David Blitzer, chair of the S&P index
committee. "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. All in all, we
are more optimistic about housing."
On an annual basis, the S&P report has prices up 1.2 percent
from their July 2011 levels, while the FHFA is reporting a much
stronger 3.7 percent annual gain. The difference is largely due to
methodology; the S&P survey looks at repeat home sales in the
20 major metropolitan areas it covers, while the FHFA figures are
based on data from mortgages guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie
The S&P survey estimates that on a national basis, home
prices are at roughly the same level they were in the summer of
2003, while the FHFA survey puts July home prices at roughly the
June 2004 level.
Gains Strongest in Western U.S.
The FHFA report shows the home price gains are generally
strongest in the western part of the country and weaker east of the
Mississippi River. The Mountain states are showing the strongest
gains, with prices up 11.9 percent over the past 12 months,
including a 1.3 percent in July. Meanwhile, the Middle Atlantic
states are showing the weakest performance, with a 1.4 percent
annual decline, including a 0.7 percent drop in July.
All other parts of the country showed annual gains in the FHFA
report with the exception of New England, where prices are down 0.5
percent over the past 12 months, along with a 0.1 percent drop in
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