Sept. 25, 2012, 11:13 a.m. EDT
By Jeffry Bartash, MarketWatch
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — U.S. home prices rose in July for the fourth straight month to reach their highest level in nearly two years, according to an index released Tuesday.
The S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city composite posted a 1.6% increase in July, following 2.3% advance in June. For the third month in a row, all 20 cities in the index recorded prices gains.
Although home prices have risen 1.2% over the past 12 months, they are still about 30% lower compared to the market’s peak in 2006, the Case-Shiller index found.
“The news on home prices in this report confirm recent good news about housing. Single-family housing starts are well ahead of last year’s pace, existing home sales are up, the inventory of homes for sale is down and foreclosure activity is slowing,” said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “All in all, we are more optimistic about housing.”
The three-month rolling Case-Shiller index includes transactions that took place from May to July.