August’s data for the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices were marginally positive for the housing market. The 10- and 20-City Composites were each up 0.2%; but only 10 of the 20 cities covered by the indices were up in August over July.
The annual rates of change showed something slightly positive for home prices. Sixteen of the 20 cities and both monthly Composites saw their annual growth rates improve. Last month, we saw similar results, with 14 of the cities and the 20-City Composites’ rates improving. Los Angeles and Miami saw no change in annual returns in August; and Atlanta and Las Vegas saw their annual rate of change fall deeper into negative territory.
So, in most markets, while home prices versus the same month last year were better in August than seen in previous reports; this only means that for most they were less negative. Detroit and Washington DC had respective annual growth rates of +2.7% and +0.3% as of August 2011. We continue to caution that monthly increases in prices have to be paired with improvement in annual returns for any sort of stability in the housing market.