The July Case-Shiller index has just been released and once again, while the news for Los Angeles is positive, it isn't spectacular — and a bit of a letdown after the city's housing market picked up some momentum earlier this year. Prices improved 1.3 pecent in July, but that has to be contrasted with a 1.7-percent uptick for June, a 2.2-percent gain for May, and an 1.5 percent boost in April.
Year-over-year, L.A. was basically flat with a 0.4-percent gain.
In terms of the Case-Shiller index, L.A. continues to hang out in the center of the 20 cities the index tracks. It's July performance nearly matches the index's 20-city composite of +1.6-percent for the period.
Nationally, every city in the Case-Shiller index saw prices move up in July — as well as in June. Some cities also saw big hikes from last August, with Phoenix taking the lead, at more then 16 percent. It seems pretty clear at this point that housing in the U.S. has established a bottom. Case-Shiller notes that prices have now recovered to 2003 levels, for the cities the index tracks.
Weak U.S. economic growth also doesn't appear to be undermining the housing-price recovery. Case-Shiller lags the market by a few months, which makes it a more reliable measure of prices than many other reports. But it also means that it's very laggy. However, a slowing economy and worries about Europe evidently didn't dampen a trend of recovering home prices in July. So there's reason to be optimistic that the housing collapse may finally be behind us.