US house prices rise for fourth straight month

| September 27, 2011
a�?US

The Standard & Poora��s/Case-Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas rose 0.9% in July compared with June when values rose 1.2%.

July represented the fourth consecutive monthly rise.

On an annual basis, however, prices are 4.1% lower.

The US housing market has remained in the doldrums for some time now and many have suggested it is holding back the recovery of the worlda��s largest economy but the latest figures suggest the housing market may be stabilising.

According to one economist, the oversupply of existing homes, particularly taking into account all those in foreclosure or soon to be, looks set to keep pressure on prices for some time.

Commenting on the index, David Blitzer, S&Pa��s index committee head, said: a�?This is still a seasonal period of stronger demand for houses, so monthly price increases are expected.

However, he cautions that a sustained recovery is a long way off and several factors suggest that the a�?housing market is still bottoming and has not turned around.a�?

Meanwhile, 18 of the 20 metropolitan areas in the index posted an annual decline in July a�� led by a 9% fall in Minneapolis.

The only two areas to see a rise were Detroit and Washington which increased 1.2% and 0.3% respectively.

Meanwhile, house sales continue to be depressed. Yesterday, the Commerce Department revealed sales of new homes in the US fell to a six-month low in August.

According to the Commerce Department, new single-family home sales fell 2.3% in August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 295,000 units a�� the lowest level since February.

The figure is now less than half the 700,000 units which experts believe demonstrates a healthy market.

Demand for housing in the US remains weak, despite mortgage rates hovering at record lows and falling house prices a�� the latter due to millions of home repossessions.

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