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National home price index shows increases; Las Vegas remains down

The widely watched Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller Home Price Index increased for the fourth consecutive month in July, though Las Vegas was not among the housing markets showing improvement in the 20-city composite.

The index rose 0.9 percent in July as 17 of the 20 metropolitan statistical areas in the index posted gains from the previous month. Las Vegas and Phoenix were down, and Denver was flat.

Case-Shiller showed Las Vegas at the 95.48 level in July, down 0.2 percent from June and down 5.4 percent from a year ago.

On an annual basis, Detroit and Washington, D.C., were the two cities that posted positive rates of change, up 1.2 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively. The remaining 18 cities were down in July from the same month last year.

After three consecutive double-digit annual declines, Minneapolis improved marginally to a decline of 9.1 percent, which is still the worst of the 20 cities.

The Case-Shiller Home Price Index is a value-weighted average of the 20 metro area indices. The indices have a base value of 100 in January 2000. For example, a current index value of 150 translates to a 50 percent appreciation rate since January 2000 for a typical home in the subject market.

While the rest of the nation shows marginal recovery in home prices, Las Vegas continues to be dragged down by a high number of foreclosures and short sales, housing analyst Larry Murphy of Las Vegas-based SalesTraq said.

Together, they account for about two-thirds of all home sales in Las Vegas.

SalesTraq reported a median existing home price of $105,000 in July, the month of Case-Shiller’s data, down 12.4 percent from the previous year. The price dropped to $103,500 in August.

The key statistic in Las Vegas is the 2,596 real estate-owned sales, or bank-owned sales, at a median price of $98,000.

“With July’s data we are seeing not only anticipated monthly increases, but some fairly broad improvement in the annual rates of change in home prices,” David Blitzer, chairman of the S&P index committee, said in a prepared statement from New York. “While we have now seen four consecutive months of generally increasing prices, we do know that we are still far from a sustained recovery. Continued increases in home prices through the end of the year and better annual results must materialize before we can confirm a housing market recovery.”

Contact reporter Hubble Smith at hsmith@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0491.

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