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Real Estate Market Commentary - August 2013
by Peter L. Zachary, MAI, MRICS

Good news on August. The New York Times reported in its August 28, 2013 Business Section, “Home Prices Rose in June, And Confidence Is Climbing”.

“A pair of reports issued Tuesday offered bright news on the state of the economy, with home prices increasing and consumer confidence rising.

Home prices rose 12.1 percent in June compared with a year earlier, nearly matching a seven-year high. However, month-over-month price gains slowed in most markets, a sign that higher mortgage rates may cool the housing recovery.

The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index slowed only marginally from May’s year-over-year gain of 12.2 percent, the fastest since March 2006. And all 20 cities posted gains from the previous month and compared with a year ago, according to the report.

In addition, Americans’ confidence in the economy inched closer to a five-and-ahalf-year high on growing optimism that hiring and wages could pick up in coming months.

In the housing report, prices in Las Vegas soared 24.9 percent from a year earlier to lead all cities. Purchases by investors have helped drive that increase. Other cities hit hard by the housing downturn also posted major gains in the last year. Prices have jumped 24.5 percent in San Francisco and nearly 20 percent in both Los Angeles and Phoenix. Still, 14 of the 20 cities posted smaller gains in June compared with May. That is unusual, as June is the middle of the crucial summer buying season.

And in cities less affected by the housing crisis, gains have been more modest. Prices in New York and Cleveland are about 3 percent higher than a year earlier. Prices rose 5.7 percent in Washington and 6.7 percent in Boston.

Although consumers were more confident about the future, their assessment of the current economy dipped slightly in August. Consumers’ confidence in the economy is watched closely because their spending accounts for about 70 percent of national economic activity.

Americans’ confidence jumped in June on hopes that the job market was starting to turn around. The economy has created an average of 192,000 jobs a month this year, slightly ahead of last year’s pace. And the unemployment rate fell last month to a four-and-a-half-year low of 7.4 percent.”

More to come next month. Read previous Real Estate & Housing Market News.

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