Home Prices Continue to Rise in September

Home prices rose in September from a month earlier, fueling growing signs that the U.S. housing market is rebounding, according to Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller home-price indexes.

The Case-Shiller index of 10 major metropolitan areas and the 20 metro index rose 0.3 percent from August, marking the sixth consecutive month of growth.

On an annual basis, the 10 city index was up 2.1 percent, while the 20 city index climbed 3 percent.

Falling foreclosure numbers, low sales inventory and record-low mortgage rates have attracted more buyers into the real estate market. Lower distressed homes for sale — including  bank-owned REO properties and short sales — are helping to stabilize prices.

“In September’s report all three headline composites and 17 of the 20 cities gained over their levels of a year ago,” said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the S&P Case-Shiller Indicesin a prepared statement. “With six months of consistently rising home prices, it is safe to say that we are now in the midst of a recovery in the housing market.”

Prices rose in 13 cities, declined in five and were unchanged in two in September compared with the prior month. Chicago, Detroit, Seattle and Washington, D.C. recorded a slight  decrease in their annual rates, while New York saw no change.

“We are entering the seasonally weak part of the year,” added Blitzer, referring to the slow winter sales months. “Despite the seasons, housing continues to improve.”

Cities that had suffered some of  the worst price declines during the housing crisis are starting to come back. Phoenix is leading the recovery with a 20 percent year-over-year gain, while Atlanta  posted a year-over-year gain for the first time in 26 months, the report showed. In Las Vegas, one of the hardest hit markets during the housing crisis, prices rose  3.8 percent year-over-year, while prices in Miami were 7.4 percent higher than a year ago and Tampa was up 5.9 percent in September.

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