Housing prices rose 0.7% in April, snapping eight straight months of declines, as home values increased in 13 of the 20 cities in the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller house price index.
Despite the good news, David Blitzer, chairman of S&P's index committee, remains cautious until he sees several more months of house price increases. “It is much too early to tell if this is a turning point or simply due to some warmer weather,” Blitzer said Tuesday morning in releasing the HPI.
In a CNBC-TV interview, Blitzer indicated he is looking for house prices to stabilize this summer.
While 13 metropolitan areas posted price gains in April, six cities hit new lows -- Charlotte, N.C., Chicago, Detroit, Las Vegas, Miami and Tampa.
The S&P Case-Shiller HPI hit a new crisis low in March. Even with the April increase, the 20-city HPI is down 32.8% from the July 2006 peak in house prices.
Overall, average house prices across the U.S. are back to their summer levels of 2003.
An earlier report by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) set up expectations the S&P Case-Shiller would report an increase in April house prices.
The FHFA HPI, which is based on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac purchase mortgage transactions, registered an 0.8% increase in April – the first monthly increase in nearly a year.