U.S. housing prices see modest gains, but likely have long way to go

Jul.July 26, 2011 11:49 AM

For the first time in 11 months, U.S. housing prices increased month-over-month for a second consecutive time in May 2011, according to the latest data from the Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index released today. The 20-city composite rose 1 percent from April to 140.95 — roughly the equivalent to housing prices earlier in the recession, in May 2009, and before the peak in June 2003; all metropolitan areas excepting Detroit, Las Vegas, Tampa and Phoenix posted housing price gains. Despite the modest price increases, the 20-city index is 4.5 percent below where it stood in May 2010, as 19 of the metropolitan areas posted losses, led by Minneapolis, Phoneix, Portland, Tampa and Detroit where prices plummeted at least 9 percent. Only Washington, D.C. posted a year-over-year gain, as prices rose 1.3 percent.

“This is a seasonal period of stronger demand for houses, so monthly price increases are to be expected,” said David Blitzer, chairman of the Index committee at S&P Indices. “We have now seen two consecutive months of generally improving prices; however, we might have a long way to go before we see a real recovery. Sustained increases in home prices over several months and better annual results need to be seen before we can confirm real estate market recovery.”

The report shows New York housing prices bumped up 0.7 percent over April 2011, but fell 3.2 percent from last May, though the report counts only single-family homes and thus excludes much of New York City. — Adam Fusfeld

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