US home prices rose for the third straight month in August, data released today showed, a key sign for a broad and sustained housing recovery. The S&P/Case-Shiller home price index of 20 major cities climbed 1% from July to a seasonally adjusted reading of 144.5. While prices are down 11.4% from August a year ago, the annual declines have slowed since February.
"If the increases are consistent across the markets," said one real estate professor before the index was released. "Then we're seeing the formation of a bottom." But industry experts still worry that rising unemployment and more foreclosures could stifle the rebound. Another unknown is whether a temporary federal tax credit for first-time buyers will be extended to help boost sales. And though most cities got a boost, prices in Las Vegas, Seattle, and Charlotte are still falling.