Data through June 2013, released by S&P Dow Jones Indices for its S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices showed that prices continue to increase. The National Index grew 7.1 percent in the second quarter and 10.1 percent over the last four quarters. The 10-City and 20-City Composites posted returns of 2.2 percent for June and 11.9 percent and 12.1 percent over 12 months. All 20 cities posted gains on a monthly and annual basis. However, in only six cities were prices rising faster this month than last, compared to 10 in May. Dallas and Denver reached new all-time highs as they did last month, with returns of +1.7 percent each in June. San Francisco’s rebound is the largest, up 47.0 percent from its low in March 2009. Phoenix is second, 37.1 percent above its September 2011 low. The chart above depicts the annual returns of the U.S. National, the 10-City Composite and the 20-City Composite Home Price Indices. The S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index, which covers all nine U.S. census divisions, recorded a 10.1 percent gain in the second quarter of 2013 over the second quarter of 2012. In June 2013, the 10- and 20-City Composites posted annual increases of 11.9 percent and 12.1 percent, respectively. “National home prices rose more than 10 percent annually in each of the last two quarters,” says David M. Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “However, the monthly city by city data show the pace of price increases is moderating. The Southwest and California have consistently led the recovery with Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix and San Francisco posting at least 15 months of gains. Looking at the cities, New York recorded its highest monthly return since 2002. Atlanta was up the most at +3.4 percent and Washington, D.C. had the lowest return at +1.0 percent. In terms of annual rates of change, San Francisco lost its leadership position with Las Vegas showing the highest post-recession gain of 24.9 percent." The chart above shows the index levels for the U.S. National Home Price Index, as well as its annual returns. As of the second quarter of 2013, average home prices across the United States are back at their early 2004 levels. At the end of the second quarter of 2013, the National Index was up 7.1 percent over the first quarter of 2013 and 10.1 percent above the second quarter of 2012. “Overall, the report shows that housing prices are rising but the pace may be slowing," said Blitzer. "Thirteen out of 20 cities saw their returns weaken from May to June. As we are in the middle of a seasonal buying period, we should expect to see the most gains. With interest rates rising to almost 4.6 percent, home buyers may be discouraged and sharp increases may be dampened. Other housing news is positive, but not as robust as last spring. Starts and sales of new homes continue to lag the stronger pace set by existing homes. Despite recent increases in mortgage interest rates, affordability is still good as credit qualifications have eased somewhat.” The chart above shows the index levels for the 10-City and 20-City Composite Indices. As of June 2013, average home prices across the United States are back to their spring 2004 levels. Measured from their June/July 2006 peaks, the peak-to-current decline for both Composites is approximately 23 percent. The recovery from the March 2012 lows is 18.4 percent and 19.0 percent for the 10-City and 20-City Composites. All 20 cities showed positive monthly returns for at least the third consecutive month. Six cities–Charlotte, Cleveland, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, New York and Tampa–showed acceleration. Atlanta took the lead with a return of 3.4 percent as San Francisco dropped to +2.7 percent in June from +4.3 percent in May. New York posted a gain of 2.1 percent, its highest since July 2002. Year-over-year, Las Vegas and San Francisco were the only two MSAs to post gains of over 20 percent; Atlanta, Detroit and Phoenix decreased to +19 percent, +16.4 percent and +19.8 percent, respectively. Seven cities–Dallas, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Diego and Tampa–showed improvement in their annual rates. Out of the 13 remaining MSAs, Detroit showed the most deceleration but it still posted an impressive 16.4 percent increase. Despite gaining 35.6 percent from its post-recession low in April 2011, Detroit remains the only city below its January 2000 level. "There are two main drivers in the housing industry; consumer demand and interest rates," said Bob Walters, Quicken Loans chief economist. "Despite rising rates and higher home prices, consumers continue to buy. Today’s 7.1 percent increase in the second quarter suggests the housing market is improving, supporting the U.S. economic recovery."