Home Prices Notch Highest Returns Since 2006


First-quarter average home prices were up a seasonally adjusted 1.2% nationwide, according to a S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index report (link opens a PDF) released today.

March's month-to-month seasonally adjusted increase of 1.1% squeaked past analyst expectations of a 1% rise.

After increasing a revised 1.3% in February, these newest numbers continue to push housing prices into double-digit annual increases. "Home prices continued to climb," David Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said in a statement today. "Home prices in all 20 cities posted annual gains for the third month in a row. Twelve of the 20 saw prices rise at double-digit annual growth. The National Index and the 10- and 20-City Composites posted their highest annual returns since 2006."

As of the first quarter of 2013, average home prices across the United States are back at their mid-2003 levels, according to the report. At the end of the first quarter of 2013, the National Index was up 1.2% over the fourth quarter of 2012 and 10.2% above the first quarter of 2012.

On a city-by-city basis, Phoenix has risen from the ashes to pump up prices 22.5% in the last year. San Francisco recorded 22.5% gains, followed by Las Vegas' 20.6% winnings. Although all 20 cities recorded positive gains, New York and Cleveland brought up the rear with 2.6% and 4.8% price increases, respectively.

Blitzer noted other recent reports that point to an overall housing market recovery, in addition to home price spikes. The Federal Housing Finance Agency put Q1 home prices up 1.9% , new home sales headed 2.3% higher for April , while existing home sales clocked 0.6% gains. Blitzer noted, however, that "the larger than usual share of multi-family housing, a large number of homes still in some stage of foreclosure and buying-to-rent by investors suggest that the housing recovery is not complete."


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