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Home Prices Up Slightly, Ready to Fall

Today, Standard & Poor’s released an update of the Case-Shiller home price index, finding house prices increased 4.4 percent in the second quarter after declining 2.8 percent in the first. Nationally, home prices are up 3.6 percent year-on-year, about the level they were in the fall of 2003. Most of the increase can be chalked up to the now-expired Obama tax credits for homebuyers. Many economists anticipate such housing indexes will show drops in the next months.

In June, home prices ticked up in 17 out of 20 major cities — most in San Francisco (up 14.3 percent year-on-year). Prices remained stable in Phoenix and Seattle, and declined only in Las Vegas.

The Case-Shiller index reports a rolling three-month average, meaning the June data included May and April transactions. That means that the data is skewed to the period before the expiry of the tax credits, $8,000 for first-time buyers and $6,500 for some repeat buyers.

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