Following eight months of declines, U.S. Home Prices have shown a small monthly increase in the latest Home Price Indices from S&P/Case-Shiller.
With data through April 2011, the 10 and 20 city composites increase was just under 1% over March, at 0.8% and 0.7% respectively. Both indices were down from the previous year by 3.1% for the 10-city composite and 4.0% for the 20-city composite.
“In a welcome shift from recent months, this month is better than last - April’s numbers beat March,” says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Indices. “However, the seasonally adjusted numbers show that much of the improvement reflects the beginning of the Spring-Summer home buying season. It is much too early to tell if this is a turning point or simply due to some warmer weather.
The number of MSA's experiencing declines in April decline to seven compared to 18 in march. Thirteen of the MSA's showed positive monthly changes. Washington D.C. (3.0%), San Francisco (1.7%) and Atlanta (1.6%) had the highest increases for the month.
According additional data, the report also noted several key indicators that moved in a positive direction in May, but are still trailing behind the previous year's pace. Single-family housing starts were up in May, although still well below 2010 levels and near 30-year lows. Existing home sales also posted a monthly increase, but were 15% below the previous year. Also, foreclosure activity is still weighing on the market, but new defaults declined slightly.
Blitzer said that the up tick in the lasted data is positive, but not significant to signal recovery, "For a real recovery we would need to see several months of increasing home prices, large enough to shift the annual momentum to the positive side. In short, better news, but still a lot of questions and a long way to go.”