U.S. home prices continue rise in July

U.S. home prices rose 1.2 percent year-over-year in July, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index tracking 20 cities released today. The 20-city composite posted an annual gain of 1.2 percent in July.

On a monthly basis, home prices were up 1.6 percent between July and June. This is the third consecutive month in which all 20 cities posted positive monthly trends.

“The news on home prices in this report confirm recent good news about housing,” said David Blitzer, S&P Indices chairman. “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. Upbeat trends continue.”

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Blitzer expressed so much optimism that he concluded, “the positive news in both the monthly and annual rates of change in home prices over the past few months signals a possible home recovery in the housing market.”

As previously reported, the number of nationwide sales of newly built single-family homes rose 3.6 percent month-over-month in July and nationwide foreclosures posted a 7 percent month-over-month and a 19 percent year-over-year decline in the same month.

New York was one of three cities — along with Cleveland and Detroit — to see annual rates in home prices decline. New York posted a 2.6 percent year-over-year housing price decline. “New York was the only city with a worse 12-months decline in July than June,” Blitzer said.

All in all, the report says, U.S. average home prices in the 20-city composite are now back to their summer 2003 levels. — Zachary Kussin