New data released on Tuesday from the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices show that US National Home Price Index rose 4.4% in the second quarter of 2010, after falling 2.8% in the first quarter.
Housing prices have rebounded from crisis lows, but other recent housing indicators point to more ominous signals as tax incentives have ended and foreclosures continue.
“The monthly Composites cover June and the national index covers the second quarter, when the government’s program for first time home-buyers was winding down. While the numbers are upbeat, other more recent data on home sales and mortgages point to fewer gains ahead,” says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at Standard & Poor’s. “Even with concerns about near term developments, we recognize that the housing market is in better shape than this time last year. Further, California’s cities have moved from some of the hardest hit to three of the four leading cities based on year-over-year gains. Among the other hard hit cities, the news is also a bit encouraging – Las Vegas, however, remains among the weaker cities.
According to Blitzer, 17 of the 20 MSAs and both composites saw home prices increase in June over May while Las Vegas was down 0.6%, Phoenix and Seattle were both flat. Through the second quarter, 15 of the 20 MSAs and both Composites have positive annual growth rates, and no market is registering a double- digit decline.
“The worry starts when you remember that the Homebuyers’ Tax Credit has expired, foreclosures are still at high levels, and July data on home sales and starts were very, very weak,” said Blitzer. “The inventory of unsold homes and months’ supply data were particularly troubling. If this relative weakness in demand continues, it will likely filter through to home prices in coming months.”