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Price Growth Slows as Some Markets Top Pre-Crash Peaks

Home price increases slowed on a monthly basis in July as more markets approach their pre-crash peaks, ""Lender Processing Services"":http://www.lpsvcs.com/Pages/default.aspx (LPS) reported in its monthly Home Price Index (HPI) report.

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Nationally, LPS' index was up to $231,000 in July, a 0.6 percent gain over June. Compared to last year, July's index was up 8.7 percent.

Among other things, July's annual growth could be attributed to the sharp increase in non-distressed sales, which rose about 45 percent over last summer as distressed sales fell off, LPS reported.

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As of the end of the month, the average national price was 14.7 percent off from its peak in June 2006.

There was a bit more geographical spread in the list of states reporting the most upward trajectory in July. Minnesota at Utah took the top spot, with both seeing 1.1 percent monthly growth. Florida and Nevada were next at an even 1.0 percent, while Georgia tied with a handful of states at 0.9 percent.

On the bottom 10, Pennsylvania had the poorest performance month-over-month, posting no change. Vermont was next with 0.1 percent growth, followed by Connecticut, Nebraska, and Arkansas, which were just a few of the states posting 0.2 percent price gains.

At the local level, California and Florida markets continued to occupy half of the spots for the areas with the largest improvements. Orlando, Florida, was No. 1 with 1.6 percent, followed by Stockton and Modesto, California (1.4 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively). Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Salt Lake City, Utah, rounded out the top five (each with 1.2 percent growth).

Meanwhile, several of the largest metros around the country continue to outperform their pre-recession highs. Those markets include Texas' largest cities--Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio--as well as Denver, Colorado.

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