After a "double dip" in March, U.S. home prices saw a slight seasonal boost in April, according to the latest Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller National Home Price Indices report released today.
The April indices averaged price data from February, March and April. The 20-city composite index rose 0.7 percent on a monthly, nonseasonally adjusted basis in April, to 138.84 — the first such increase in eight months.
On a seasonally-adjusted basis, the composite remained essentially flat at -0.1 percent. The indices have a base value of 100; indices above 100 indicate appreciation of a typical home in a subject market since January 2000.
Thirteen of 20 metro areas tracked showed monthly gains, including: Atlanta; Cleveland; Dallas; Denver; Los Angeles; Minneapolis; New York; Phoenix; Portland, Ore.; San Diego; San Francisco; Seattle; and Washington, D.C. Atlanta and Seattle posted the highest monthly increase at 1.6 percent each.
In a statement, David M. Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Indices, called the numbers "a welcome shift," but cautioned that "the seasonally adjusted numbers show that much of the improvement reflects the beginning of the spring-summer homebuying season. It is much too early to tell if this is a turning point or simply due to some warmer weather."
"For a real recovery we would need to see several months of increasing home prices, large enough to shift the annual momentum to the positive side. In short, better news, but still a lot of questions and a long way to go," he added.
On an annual basis, the 20-city composite was down 4 percent. Nineteen out of 20 metros saw year-over-year declines, with Minneapolis and Portland posting the biggest drops: 11.1 percent and 9.2 percent, respectively.
Only Washington, D.C., saw year-over-year price appreciation, up 4 percent. Six metros posted new index lows: Charlotte, N.C.; Chicago; Detroit; Las Vegas; Miami; and Tampa, Fla. Detroit saw the lowest index level among the 20 markets, at 62.74.
Overall, the price index levels are back to the level they were at in the summer of 2003. The 20-city composite has fallen 32.8 percent since peaking in June-July 2006.