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FNC index shows U.S. home prices still on the rise

OXFORD — FNC’s latest Residential Price Index (RPI) indicates U.S. property values continue to rise. Home prices reached a 20-month high following a “robust” spring/summer home-buying season, FNC reports.

In August, home prices rose for the sixth consecutive month, consistent with signs of strengthening market conditions that are led by rising existing-home sales and declining foreclosure activities.

Foreclosure sales, down from 23 percent a year ago to 17.4 percent in August, continue to play out favorably on current price trends.

Nationwide, August home prices — based on recorded sales of non-distressed properties (existing and new homes) in the 100 largest metropolitan areas — were up at a seasonally unadjusted rate of 0.3 percent from the previous month. On a year-over-year basis, home prices rose 1.5 percent from August 2011. Year to date, home prices were up nearly 5.0 percent from January.

All three FNC RPI composites (the National, 30-MSA and 10-MSA indices) show similar up-trend, rising month-to-month for six consecutive months since March.There are signs that the upward momentum subsided somewhat in August, with the two broader indices up only 0.2-0.3 percent from July. On a year-over-year basis, home prices nationwide strengthened modestly, rising 1.5 percent from a year ago. All three indices hit 20-month highs in August.

The majority of the markets tracked by the FNC 30-MSA composite index show continued price improvement in August, although generally at a subdued pace. Month-to-month, home prices rose 3.1 percent in Los Angeles, 2.2 percent in Phoenix, 2.1 percent in Sacramento, 1.7 percent in Detroit, 1.6 percent in Columbus. Based on a three-month moving average (June, July and August), Detroit, Phoenix, San Francisco and Los Angeles show the best price momentum, averaging 2.8 percent, 2.7 percent, 1.7 percent and 1.5 percent per month, respectively.

Since last month, more component markets are exhibiting positive year-to-year growth, led continually by Phoenix at 13.3 percent and followed by Detroit at 7.6 percent, Denver at 6.8 percent and Miami at 6.7 percent. Most notably, the Phoenix market continues to lead the housing recovery with strong growth momentum. Between January and August, home prices in the Phoenix area rose 15.2 percent, or an average of 2.2 percent per month. All markets show positive year-to-date (YTD) price movement that averages 5.4 percent. Significant YTD appreciation is seen in Detroit at 12.0 percent, San Francisco at 8.8 percent, Sacrament at 7.9 percent, Washington, D.C., at 7.8 percent and Los-Angeles at 7.4 percent.

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