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Indices Display Improvement in Home Pricing Data

""Standard & Poor's"":www.standardandpoors.com/ most recent data on home pricing indicates rising numbers over four consecutive months, according to the company's ""S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices"":http://www.standardandpoors.com/indices/sp-case-shiller-home-price-indices/en/us/?indexId=spusa-cashpidff--p-us. S&P's 10- and 20-city composites demonstrated an increase of 0.9 percent between June and July of this year, displaying some seasonal strength.

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Of the metropolitan statistical areas surveyed and all composites, 17 of the 20 posted positive monthly increases, leaving Las Vegas and Phoenix as the only cities to record a loss and Denver holding steady with no change. However, only two regions displayed upward growth year-over-year, with Detroit and Washington, D.C. showing an increase of 1.2 percent and 0.3 percent respectively.

Overall, the numbers from July demonstrated a decline in year-over-year returns, indicating a drop of 3.7 percent for the 10-city composite and 4.1 percent for the 20-city composite. Month-over-month, the annual rates for the collective composites were up, and 14 metropolitan statistical areas improved including Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Las Vegas, Miami, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Portland, Tampa, and Washington, D.C.

David M. Blitzer, chairman of the index committee for S&P Indices, said of the July findings, ""While we have now seen four

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consecutive months of generally increasing prices, we do know that we are still far from a sustained recovery. Eighteen of the 20 cities and both Composites are showing that home prices are still below where they were a year ago. ├âÔÇÜ├é┬áThe 10-City Composite is down 3.7 percent and the 20-City is down 4.1 percent compared to July 2010. Continued increases in home prices through the end of the year and better annual results must materialize before we can confirm a housing market recovery. As with May and June's reports, we saw some unusually large revisions across some of the MSAs. ├âÔÇÜ├é┬áIn particular, Detroit was most affected in July, with the revisions showing a much healthier market than previously thought.""

Blizter also noted the source of the revisions, stating that the lower sales volumes and volatile ratios of distressed versus non-distressed sales contributed to the changes. Nationally, home prices are equivalent to those on record for the summer of 2003, and the peak-to-current declines stand at 31 percent for the 10-city composite and 30.9 percent for the 20-city composite.

Continuing his commentary, Blizter stated, ""Other recent housing statistics show that single-family housing starts were down slightly in August, and are about 2 percent below their year ago level; and these levels are at 30-year lows. Existing-home sales, however, were up in August and are about 20 percent above their August 2010 level. The S&P/Experian Consumer Credit Default indices showed a continuing decline in mortgage default rates, a two-year trend. However, if you look at the state of the overall economy and, in particular, the recent large decline in consumer confidence, these combined statistics continue to indicate that the housing market is still bottoming and has not turned around.""

The only market on the current index displaying a dubious drop was Las Vegas, which rang in a new index level low for July to come in 59.3 percent below its peak in August of 2006. A complete look at the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Incides is available ""online"":www.homeprice.standardandpoors.com, and all revisions for the prior 24 months are posted for review as well.

About Author: Abby Gregory

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