Home prices increased in September in most major US cities, more evidence of a housing recovery that is providing a lift to the fragile economy. Standard & Poor's/Case Shiller reported today that its 20-city index of home prices rose 3% in September, compared with the same month last year. Prices also gained 3.6% in the July-September quarter compared with the same quarter in 2011. Across the US, prices increased in 18 of 20 cities over the 12-month period.
In Phoenix, prices jumped 20.4% over that stretch to lead all cities. Prices in Atlanta showed a modest 0.1% increase, ending 26 straight consecutive year-over-year declines. Prices also rose in September from August in 13 cities. Five metro regions posted declines, while two were unchanged. The chairman of the Case Shiller index said that when adjusting for seasonal factors, only one city showed a decline in September vs. two in August. "Despite the seasons, housing continues to improve," he said. The S&P/Case Shiller index covers roughly half of US homes.