U.S. home prices tracked by Standard & Poor’s measures showed a slight gain in prices in August, suggesting that the housing market may have stabilized.
But, uncertainty about the employment picture as well as the cessation of tax credits aimed at stirring up buyer interest could chip away at prices later in the year.
S&P said its 10-city and 20-city composite measures rose slightly in August; the 10-city composite rose 1.3% to a reading of 157.93, while the 20-city composite measure rose 1.2% to a reading of 146.
While there has been a month-over-month improvement, both gauges are still sharply below year-ago levels. Compared with a year ago, the 10-city index of home prices is off 10.6% while the 20-city measure is off 11.3%.
Markets showing a decline in home prices included Las Vegas, Charlotte and Cleveland.
S&P’s index committee chairman, David Blitzer, warned that home prices could be negatively impacted by a worsening employment picture and the end of a tax credit aimed at shoring up demand for homes.
“We do want to remind people of the upcoming expiration of the Federal First-Time Buyer’s Tax Credit in November and anticipated higher unemployment rates through year-end. Both may have a dampening effect on home prices,” Blitzer said in a press release.