Home prices in major US cities have risen for the first time in eight months, boosted by an annual flurry of spring buyers. Prices rose in 13 of the 20 cities tracked by the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home-price index, according to the April report released today. Washington, DC, saw the biggest price increases, followed by San Francisco, Atlanta, and Seattle. The index, which covers metro areas that include about 50% of US households, rose 0.7%. It marked the first increase since July. The index measures sales of select homes in those cities compared with prices in January 2000 and provides a three-month average price. The April data is the latest available.
Last summer prices rose nearly 4% before falling more than 7% to new record lows over the winter. Home prices in big metro areas sank in March to their lowest since 2002. Since the bubble burst in 2006, prices have fallen more than they did during the Great Depression. But today's positive data came with a caveat: It was not adjusted for seasonal factors. When looking at seasonally adjusted numbers, prices actually fell. Despite the superficial gains in other cities, six metro areas are at their lowest levels in nearly four years: Charlotte, Chicago, Detroit, Las Vegas, Miami, and Tampa.