Case-Shiller index shows third month of home-price increases


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Home prices in major U.S. cities increased in June for the third consecutive month, according to a closely watched index. But such upticks are often seasonal and home prices could begin declining again if demand remains weak.

The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller index of home prices in 20 metropolitan areas rose 1.1% from May to June when left unadjusted for seasonal variations. Prices often rise in spring and summer because of changes in the types of homes selling: Foreclosures make up a higher proportion of sales during the winter as families take a break from home shopping and cash-rich investors dominate the market.


Higher sales volumes in spring also push up prices. But compared with June 2010, home prices fell 4.5%, according to the index released Tuesday.

Also released Tuesday was the S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. national home price index, which looks at home prices nationally. It rose 3.6% in the second quarter of 2011, after having fallen 4.1% in the first quarter of 2011.

The national index still posted an annual decline of 5.9% versus the second quarter of 2010. National home prices are at their 2003 levels.


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-- Alejandro Lazo
Twitter: @AlejandroLazo