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S&P: Housing market may have ‘turned around’

Are we heading toward a housing recovery?

Signs are pointing to yes, based on Tuesday’s S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, a commonly watched housing report that’s released every month.

San Diego and 19 other major cities tracked in the index posted price increases from May to June. Locally, prices rose 1.1 percent, which essentially means we’re flat. San Diego home prices have seen either an uptick or flatness for the past five straight months, Case-Shiller analysts have reported. June marked the second straight month in which all 20 cities posted monthly gains.

When comparing June 2012 to June 2011, San Diego was among six cities that saw a drop in prices. Looking closer, the change locally is basically flat year-over-year, a drop of 0.2 percent. The other cities that saw a price decline from a year ago were were Atlanta, (-12.1 percent); Chicago, (-1.7 percent); Las Vegas (-1.8 percent); Los Angeles (-0.6 percent) and New York (-2.1 percent.)

On a national level, homes prices are moving upward. The 20-city composite index rose 2.3 percent month-to-month and 0.5 percent year-over-year. This week’s report states home prices across the country are at 2003 levels, as of the second quarter.

Homebuying activity is typically strongest in the spring and summer. Still, Case-Shiller experts are confident about the latest numbers.

“We are aware that we are in the middle of a seasonal buying period,” Tuesday’s report stated. “But the combined positive news coming from both monthly and annual rates of change in home prices bode well for the housing market.”

“…We seem to be witnessing exactly what we needed for a sustained recovery; monthly increases coupled with improving annual rates of change,” analysts added. “The market may have finally turned around.”

The Case-Shiller index has a two-month lag and covers repeat sales, which explains why it takes the S&P longer than other places, such as DataQuick, to release their housing numbers.

Source: San Diego Union Tribune, author Lily Leung, 8/28/12


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