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Posted at 09:32 AM ET, 09/27/2011

Home prices up in July in 17 cities

A home in Clinton, N.J., was on the selling list. (Mark Lennihan - AP)
Home prices rose in 17 U.S. cities in July, according to the Case-Shiller Home Price Index, a closely watched measure of the health of the nation’s housing market. Nationally, prices were up 0.9 percent from the previous month, exceeding analysts’ expectations.

Still, prices are down 4.1 percent nationally compared with the same month last year, a sign that the housing market has a ways to go before a sustained recovery.

The Washington region is one of only two areas in the nation where home prices have risen year-over-year.

The biggest price increases in August were in Detroit and Minneapolis, where prices advanced 3.8 percent and 2.6 percent, respectively. The only cities to post declines were Las Vegas and Phoenix. Prices remained unchanged in Denver.

The Case-Shiller data follows two reports that offered mixed signals as to how far off a recovery in the housing market could be. On Monday the Commerce Department reported that new-home sales declined in August, even though summer is typically peak season for the real estate industry. However, Commerce reported last week that existing-home sales rose 7.7 percent, a jump that again exceeded analysts’ expectations.

David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the committee that compiles the index, said in a statement, “if you look at the state of the overall economy and, in particular, the recent large decline in consumer confidence, these combined statistics continue to indicate that the housing market is still bottoming and has not turned around.”

In the last Case-Shiller reading, home prices rose in 19 of the 20 metropolitan areas that are tracked. Portland was the only city where they remained flat.

By  |  09:32 AM ET, 09/27/2011

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