U.S. property values continue to rise and have reached a 20-month high following a powerful spring/summer home-buying season according to the FNC most recent Residential Price Index.

This past August, home prices soared for the sixth consecutive month, due to rising existing home sales and a decline in foreclosures, which is a good sign of a strengthening market.

Foreclosure sales are down 23% from a year ago to 17.4%, and continue to play out well on current price trends.

By way of comparison, in the second quarter, FNC home prices rose 2.7%, the largest increase in six years. Annual home prices were up nearly 4% since January, FNC reported in August.

All three FNC RPI composites (the 30-MSA, 10-MSA, and the National) show a similar trend upwards, rising month-to-month for six consecutive months. Over a year-to-year basis, home prices strengthened nationwide, rising 1.5% from a year ago. The three FNC RPI composites hit a 20 month high in August.

Starting last month, more component markets are showing positive year-to-year growth led continually by Phoenix at 13.3% and followed by Detroit-7.6%, Denver-6.8%, and Miami-6.7%. Most notably, the Phoenix market continues to lead the housing recovery with strong growth momentum. Between January and August, home prices in the Phoenix area rose 15.2%, or an average of 2.2% per month.