OK, first a warning: don’t expect that we’ll continue to see such healthy numbers for home prices through the winter months. The composite indices from S&P/Case-Shiller released today are for July, which is actually a composite of May, June, and July (three of the strongest sales months of the year).

Also, in recent years, seasonal changes have been larger than usual seasonal adjustments, in part because of the steady stream of distressed properties on the market.

Anyway, those are the warnings, but this post is really good news.

From Home Prices Increase Again in July 2012 According to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices:

Data through July 2012, released today by S&P Dow Jones Indices for its S&P/Case-Shiller1 Home Price Indices, the leading measure of U.S. home prices, showed average home prices increased by 1.5% for the 10-City Composite and by 1.6% for the 20-City Composite in July versus June 2012.For the third consecutive month, all 20 cities and both Composites recorded positive monthly changes. It would have been a fourth had prices not fallen by 0.6% in Detroit back in April.

The 10- and 20-City Composites posted annual returns of +0.6% and +1.2% in July 2012, up from their unchanged and +0.6% annual rates posted for June 2012. Fifteen of the 20 MSAs and both Composites posted better annual returns in July as compared to June 2012. Dallas and Washington D.C. saw no change in their annual rates; and Cleveland, Detroit and New York saw their rates worsen in July, with respective returns of +0.4%, +6.2% and -2.6%. After nine consecutive months of double digit annual declines, Atlanta finally improved to a -9.9% annual rate in July 2012, but still the worst among the 20 cities followed by S&P Dow Jones Indices.

So the year-over-year number looks bad for Atlanta, but the more recent data suggests that Atlanta is well off the bottom.

More from the press release:

Case-Shiller has been headlining not seasonally adjusted data, but you can see the difference here when the seasonal adjustment is made:

Even if home prices soften somewhat this fall and winter (we’re almost certain to see some not seasonally adjusted declines month to month), this provides more evidence that prices will generally continue rebounding from their lows of recent years.

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