U.S. home prices edged up 0.3% in the latest Lender Processing Services (LPS) Home Price Index for homes sold in October. This slight increase from September to October shows a continued, albeit modest, home price recovery.

The report is arriving just a few hours before the expected release of the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices. Comparatively, analysts with LPS claim the S&P Case-Shiller 20-city composite index is expected to increase 0.3% month-over-month for October, matching LPS’ findings while also showing home prices up 4.1% from last year.

From last year, home prices grew 4.3% in October, based on LPS’s analysis of homes in 15,500 ZIP codes.

The LPS HPI is a study of non-distressed home sales and discounts the influence of REO sales and short-sale transactions.

The average price for a U.S. home sold in October hit $206,000, down 22.5% from a peak of $266,000 in June 2006, but up from $197,000 a year earlier and above the $205,000 price level set in September.

The states that saw the most price appreciation in the latest LPS report included Maryland (prices up 1.2%), Washington D.C. (prices up 1.4%), New York (prices up 1.2%), and Georgia (up 1%).

The steepest home price drops occurred in the states of Michigan (down 0.2%), Ohio (down 0.3%), Washington (down 0.3%), Alaska (down 0.4%) and Wisconsin (down 0.4%).

Individual cities that saw the largest price gains included Modesto, Calif. (up 1.4%); Ocean Pines, MD (up 1.4%); Baltimore (up 1.3%); and Hilton Head Island, S.C. (up 1.3%).

Taking a look at recovering Sand States such as Arizona illustrates how rapidly home price appreciation is occuring in some of the hardest hit states.

The average home sales price in Arizona hit $181,000 in October, up slightly from $180,000 in September, and a 14.8% jump from $158,000 last January.


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