Home prices made a slight recovery in the second quarter from this year's earlier lows, but are still well below year-ago levels, according to the latest S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index.
On a national basis, house prices were up 3.6 percent in the second quarter compared to a 4.1 percent drop in the first quarter. The second quarter's prices were still 5.9 percent below those a year ago. Home prices were pushed up in the first half of last year with the federal tax credit.
All 20 metro areas measured by Case-Shiller were down from a year ago, with Minneapolis (down 10.8 percent) and Portland (down 9.6) percent faring the worst. Nineteen of 20 markets (all except Portland) were up from the first quarter.
"Looking across the cities, eight bottomed in 2009 and have remained above their lows," said David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Indices. "These include all the California cities plus Dallas, Denver and Washington DC, all relatively strong markets. At the other extreme, those which set new lows in 2011 include the four Sunbelt cities – Las Vegas, Miami, Phoenix and Tampa – as well as the weakest of all, Detroit. These shifts suggest that we are back to regional housing markets, rather than a national housing market where everything rose and fell together."