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Good News for Home Sellers: Prices on the Rise

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The average cost of a home has been improving for some time now, but June saw prices rise in the 20 largest cities across the country for the first time in two years.

Property values in 20 U.S. cities crept upward in June on an annual basis, marking the first such increase since the summer of 2010, according to the latest data from the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices. The June increase in the 20-city index was 0.5 percent, while the smaller, 10-city index climbed 0.1 percent. Further, on a monthly basis, there were improvements for the second consecutive period, the report said. Prices rose 2.3 percent from May’s totals in the 20-city composite, and 2.2 percent for the 10-city.

Meanwhile, on a quarterly basis, the improvement was even starker, the report said. The national home price composite rose 1.2 percent in the second quarter of the year from the same period in 2011, and 6.9 percent from the first quarter.

“In this month’s report all three composites and all 20 cities improved both in June and through the entire second quarter of 2012,” said David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “All 20 cities and both monthly Composites rose for the second consecutive month. It would have been a third consecutive month had we not seen home prices fall in Detroit back in April.”

Now, the 10- and 20-city composites have seen home prices rise to levels not seen since the summer of 2003, the report said. However, when compared with the all-time highs seen prior to the real estate market’s collapse in 2006, both are approximately 31 percent lower than they were. Further, some of the nation’s most negatively-affected housing markets – Atlanta, Detroit and Las Vegas – have home prices that are more in line with levels seen in January 2000.

Blitzer added that these numbers may be higher than what has been seen in the last few months in part because this is currently one of the peak buying seasons, the report said. However, he also noted that the latest data should be encouraging for the housing market going forward nonetheless.

Experts have long noted that housing affordability is currently near all-time highs, which could encourage more consumers to seek out mortgages the market before prices rise even more appreciably.

Image: Ian Muttoo, via Flickr

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