Case-Shiller: Home prices up in May, but still down compared to last year

From S&P/Case-Shiller’s press release Home Prices Continue to Rise in May 2012:

Data through May 2012, released today by S&P Dow Jones Indices for its S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, the leading measure of U.S. home prices, showed that average home prices increased by 2.2% in May over April for both the 10- and 20-City Composites. With May’s data, we found that home prices fell annually by 1.0% for the 10-City Composite and by 0.7% for the 20-City Composite versus May 2011. Both Composites and 17 of the 20 MSAs saw increases in annual returns in May compared to April. Boston, Charlotte and Detroit were the three cities that saw
their annual returns worsen in May, with annual rates of -0.1%, +0.9% and +0.6%, respectively. Atlanta continues to be the only city posting a double-digit negative annual return with -14.5%. However, this is an improvement over the -17.0% annual decline recorded in April 2012. All 20 cities and both Composites posted positive monthly returns. No cities posted new lows in May 2012.

Please note that Case-Shiller is focusing on data that has not been seasonally adjusted. We would expect house prices to rise slightly in the spring, but even if we factor in a seasonal adjustment, only two of the 20 cities saw prices lower in May than in April — Detroit and Charlotte — and those declines were so small as to be negligible.

There are some places in the U.S. that could see stagnant or falling home prices for months, years, or even generations. And I haven’t seen any credible rationale to expect a sharp increase in prices over the next couple of years.

But this stabilization in prices sure seems like great news.

Click here for Calculated Risk’s latest discussion of home prices, including excellent graphs.

Some additional charts and data from today’s release: