A home currently under construction at the Winthrop subdivision in Riverview, Fla., has already been sold. (Photo: Chris O'Meara, AP)
WASHINGTON -- A measure of U.S. home prices jumped 5% in
September compared with a year ago, the largest year-over-year increase
since July 2006. The gain reported by CoreLogic offered more evidence of
a sustainable housing recovery.
The real estate data provider
also said Tuesday that prices declined 0.3% in September from August,
the first drop after six straight increases. The monthly figures are not
seasonally adjusted. CoreLogic says the monthly decline reflects the
end of the summer home-buying season and not a softening in the housing
Steady price increases should give the housing market
more momentum when home sales pick up in the spring. Rising prices
encourage more homeowners to sell their homes and entice would-be buyers
to purchase homes before prices rise further.
Other measures have
also shown healthy gains in home prices over the past year. The
Standard & Poor's/Case Shiller 20-city index rose 2% in August
compared with a year ago, a faster pace than the previous month.
price gains in the past year reported by CoreLogic were widespread.
Prices have risen in all but seven states. And they declined in only 18
out of 100 large cities that are tracked by the index.
Some of the
biggest increases were in states that suffered the worst from the
housing bust. Home prices in Arizona jumped 18.7% in the past year, the
most of any state. Home prices in Idaho rose 13.1%, the second largest.
Nevada's home values rose 11%.
Home prices jumped 22.1% in
Phoenix, the metro area with the biggest gain. Prices in Houston rose
6.6%, the second-highest increase.
The states with the biggest drops were Rhode Island (3.5%) and Illinois (2.3%).
CoreLogic's price index is based on repeat sales of the same homes and tracks their price changes over time.
Several reports last month showed that the housing market is improving, though from depressed levels.
builders started construction on new homes and apartments at the
fastest pace in more than four years in September. They also requested
the most building permits in four years, a sign that many are confident
that home sales gains will continue.
New home sales jumped last
month to the highest annual pace in the past two and a half years. Sales
of previously occupied homes dipped in September but have risen
steadily in the past year.
Sales of both new and previously
occupied homes are still below levels that are consistent with a healthy
housing market. That's partly because the supply of available homes for
sale remains low. And many prospective home buyers are struggling to
qualify for a mortgage or scrape together the bigger down payments that
many banks are requiring.