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Basic RGBHome prices continued their rise across the country over the last 12 months, according to a recently released S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices showing data for February 2015. Both the 10-City and 20-City Composites saw larger year-over-year increases in February compared to January. The 10-City Composite gained 4.8 percent year-over-year, up from 4.3 percent in January. The 20-City Composite gained 5.0 percent year-over-year, compared to a 4.5 percent increase in January.

The S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index, which covers all nine U.S. census divisions, recorded a 4.2 percent annual gain in February 2015, weaker than the 4.4 percent increase in January 2015. Denver and San Francisco reported the highest year-over-year gains, as prices increased by 10.0 percent and 9.8 percent, respectively, over the last 12 months. It was the first double digit increase for Denver since August 2013. Seventeen cities reported higher year-over-year price increases in the year ended February 2015 than in the year ended January 2015, with San Francisco showing the largest acceleration.

Three cities—San Diego, Las Vegas and Portland, OR—reported that the pace of annual price increases slowed. Month-over-month, the National Index rebounded in February, reporting a 0.1 percent change for the month. Both the 10- and 20-City Composites reported significant month-over-month increases of 0.5 percent, their largest increase since July 2014. Of the sixteen cities that reported increases, San Francisco and Denver led all cities in February with increases of 2.0 percent and 1.4 percent. Cleveland reported the largest drop as prices fell 1.0 percent. Las Vegas and Boston reported declines of -0.3 percent and -0.2 percent respectively.

“Home prices continue to rise and outpace both inflation and wage gains,” says David M. Blitzer, Managing Director and Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “The S&P/Case-Shiller National Index has seen 34 consecutive months with positive year-over-year gains; all 20 cities have shown year-over-year gains every month since the end of 2012. While prices are certainly rebounding, only two cities—Denver and Dallas—have surpassed their housing boom peaks. Nationally, prices are almost 10 percent below the high set in July 2006. Las Vegas fell 61.7 percent peak to trough and has the farthest to go to set a new high; it is 41.5 percent below its high. If a complete recovery means new highs all around, we’re not there yet.

“A better sense of where home prices are can be seen by starting in January 2000, before the housing boom accelerated, and looking at real or inflation adjusted numbers. Based on the S&P/Case-Shiller National Home Price Index, prices rose 66.8 percent before adjusting for inflation from January 2000 to February 2015; adjusted for inflation, this is 27.9 percent or a 1.7 percent annual rate. The highest price gain over the last 15 years was in Los Angeles with a 4.3 percent real annual rate; the lowest was Detroit with a -3.6 percent real annual rate. While nationally, prices are recovering, new construction of single family homes remains very weak despite low vacancy rates among both renters and owner-occupied homes.”

For more information, visit www.homeprice.spdji.com.

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