By: Mark Lieberman, Five Star Institute Economist
Home prices posted their strongest monthly gain on record in April, increasing more than 2.5 percent, according to the Case-Shiller Home Price Indices released Tuesday.
The monthly 20-city index rose 2.5 percent in April, while the companion 10-city index increased 2.6 percent. Year-over-year, the 20-city index was up 12.1 percent, and the 10-city index was up 11.6 percent, each being the strongest yearly gain since March 2006.
Case Shiller began its 10-year index in January 1987 and its 20-year index in January 2000.
Economists had expected the 20-city index to increase 1.1 percent from March, a 10.9 percent annual improvement.
All 20 cities showed year-over-year gains in April, according to the index reports.
The sharp increases are likely to revive concerns of a growing housing bubble.
The Case-Shiller Indices have gone up for five straight months and 11 times in the last 13; each index dipped last October and November.
Overall, the 10-city index rose to 165.63, its highest level since November 2008, while the 20-city index improved to 152.37, also the highest level since November 2008.
Of the 20 cities surveyed, Detroit was the only area not to show an increase in April. The April index of Detroit home prices was 81.28, barely down from 81.30.
Month-over-month, the 10- and 20-city indices improved 1.4 percent in March, the fastest gain for each index since last July. The national index advanced 1.2 percent for the quarter.
The median price of an existing single-family home rose 4.3 percent in April, an annual gain of 10.4 percent, according to the National Association of Realtors.
The previous record monthly increase in the 10-city index came in June 2004, when it rose 2.3 percent; the previous record for the 20-city index came last May, when it increased 2.4 percent.
The month-over-month index gains were led by San Francisco, where the price index rose 4.9 percent, followed by Atlanta (up 3.8 percent), San Diego (up 3.7 percent), and Los Angeles (up 3.4 percent).
San Francisco also showed the strongest yearly increase—up 23.9 percent—followed by Las Vegas (up 22.3 percent), Phoenix (up 21.5 percent), and Atlanta (up 20.8 percent).
The report showed a steady improvement in prices in the West. Prices have increased in Phoenix for 19 straight months, in Los Angeles and San Francisco for 14 straight months, and in Las Vegas for 13 straight months.
The 10-city index is down 26.8 percent from its June 2006 high of 226.29, and the 20-city index is off 26.2 percent from its July 2006 peak of 206.52.
Hear Mark Lieberman Friday on P.O.T.U.S. Radio, Sirius-XM 124, at 6:20 a.m. Eastern.
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