National home prices rose 2.2% in May, signaling a slow increase and movement away from the housing bottom, according to the latest home data released Tuesday by the S&P/Case-Shiller home prices indices.
The 2.2% increase in prices in May over April were seen in all 20 of the metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) Case-Shiller tracks, despite three MSAs—Boston, Charlotte and Detroit—seeing a downturn in annual returns. While still negative, the annual changes are the best seen in at least 18 months, Case-Shiller says.
“With May’s data, we saw a continuing trend of rising home prices for the spring,” says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “On a monthly basis, all 20 cities and both Composites posted positive returns and 17 of those cities saw those rates of change increase compared to what was observed for April.”
The indication requires some caution, however, because of seasonal trends, he said.
“We have observed two consecutive months of increasing home prices and overall improvements in monthly and annual returns; however, we need to remember that spring and early summer are seasonally strong buying months so this trend must continue throughout the summer and into the fall.
Regionally, Phoenix saw the best annual return, but prices are still down more than 50% from their June 2006 peak. Miami and Tampa, likewise, are seeing positive annual rates of change.
The data along with other indicators shows signs of stability, Blitzer said.
“June data for existing home sales, new home sales, housing starts and mortgage default rates were a bit mixed, but all are better than their year-ago levels. The housing market seems to be stabilizing, but we are definitely in a wait-and-see mode for the next few months.”
Written by Elizabeth Ecker