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CoreLogic May home price index rose 0.8%

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National home prices inched up for the second-straight month in May yet remained 7.4% lower than a year earlier, according to the CoreLogic (CLGX) home price index. The data analytics company said its HPI, which includes short sales and REO transaction, rose 0.8% last month. Excluding sales of distressed properties, home prices decreased 0.4% from the year-ago May. "Two consecutive months of month-over-month growth and continued relative strength in the non-distressed market segment are positive seasonal signs in the housing market," according to Mark Fleming, chief economist at CoreLogic. "Slowly declining shadow inventory and stabilized negative equity levels are also positive signs. Nonetheless, the fragile economic recovery is still critical to the long-term recovery in the housing market," he said. Capital Economics said the CoreLogic data for May provides "further evidence that the five-year long decline in prices may be drawing to a close." "We remain concerned that prices may yet slip a little further," analysts at Toronto-based firm said. "Either way, the chronic lack of demand and still high excess supply suggests a major rebound is not imminent." Home prices rose the most in New York last month with a 4.4% gain, followed by Vermont with a 3.9% increase and North Dakota at 3.8%, according to CoreLogic. Prices fell the most in May in Idaho, dropping 16.4%. Michigan home prices declined nearly 13%, Arizona prices decreased 12.1% and Illinois prices slid 11.8%. Home prices in Nevada last month were 11.6% lower than April prices. CoreLogic said its home price index, including distressed sales, is 32.7% lower than the April 2006 peak. Excluding sales of distressed properties, the index is 21.1% lower since the high of five years ago. Write to Jason Philyaw.

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