Home prices rose again in July, according to one of the industry's most closely watched gauges of property value trends.
The ""S&P/Case Shiller Home Price Indices"":http://www.standardandpoors.com/indices/sp-case-shiller-home-price-indices/en/us/?indexId=spusa-cashpidff--p-us released Tuesday showed a 0.6 percent increase in the average price of a single-family home across the 20 major U.S. cities included in the study. The 10-city composite reading came in 0.8 percent higher in July compared to June.
The Case-Shiller barometer of home prices is a three-month moving average, which means July's readings reflect transactions that closed in May, June, and July. In other words, the numbers are still being influenced by the tail-end impact of the federal homebuy-[COLUMN_BREAK]
er tax credits, which have served to boost home prices as a result of incentive-induced activity. Analysts expect the Case-Shiller measurements to turn negative in the coming months.
Although month-to-month, the latest indices are still posting nominal gains, S&P says annual growth rates have slowed considerably. During the month of July, 16 of the 20 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) and both composite readings saw their annual gains retreat.
The 10-city composite is up 4.1 percent and the 20-city composite is up 3.2 percent from where they were in July 2009 Ã¢â‚¬" the smallest annual increase since March. For June the two composites were reported as +5.0 percent and +4.2 percent, respectively.
""Home prices crept forward in July,"" said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at Standard & Poor's. ""Ten of the 20 cities saw year-over-year gains and only one Ã¢â‚¬" Las Vegas Ã¢â‚¬" made a new bottom, as the impact of the first time home buyer program continued to fade away.""
Blitzer added, ""While we could still see some residual support from the homebuyers' tax credit, which covers purchases closing through September 30th, anyone looking for home price to return to the lofty 2005-2006 might be disappointed.""