Housing market: Some good news

Sales of new homes increased to the highest rate since July 2008, and a much-watched index continued to show gains.

Housing metrics are having a good week, as new home sales rose and the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index set a record monthly gain. 

According to the Commerce Department, new-home sales rose 2.1% in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 476,000 new homes. The figure marks the highest level since July 2008.

Separately, data from the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index showed that average home prices increased 11.6% and 12.1% for the 10- and 20-City Composites in the 12 months ended in April 2013. From March to April, the 10- and 20-City Composites rose 2.6% and 2.5%.

“The 10- and 20-City Composites posted their highest monthly gains in the history of S&P/Case- Shiller Home Price Indices,” said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “Thirteen cities posted monthly increases of over two percentage points, with San Francisco leading at 4.9%.

Atlanta, Las Vegas, Phoenix and San Francisco posted year-over-year index gains of more than 20% in April. San Francisco was the highest at 23.9%. Phoenix posted 12 consecutive months of double-digit growth.

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