Explaining Southern California's economy

Case-Shiller: Los Angeles holds steady with home price gains in August

Existing Homes Sales Jump More Than Forecast

David McNew/Getty Images

Homes in Santa Clarita, California. The August Case-Shiller index shows prices moving back to 2003 levels.

It might be safe to call a housing bottom at this point. The monthly Case-Shiller home prices index has just come out for August, and it shows prices increasing in 19 of the 20 cities the index tracks. 

This is from the release:

The 10- and 20-City Composites recorded annual returns of +1.3% and +2.0% in August 2012 – an improvement over the +0.6% and +1.2% respective annual rates posted for July 2012.

For Los Angeles, the story is much the same as it has been for the entire year so far: slow and steady progress. The August increase exactly matched the July increase, at 1.3 percent. April, May, and June were all higher, but only in May did the city exceed a 2-percent gain.

Although compared with last August (the Case-Shiller data lags by two months, which is why we're getting August numbers in late October), the situation is markedly improved over July. Los Angeles saw a 2.1 percent increase year-over-year for August; in July, prices only increased by 0.4 percent.

For anyone in L.A. who's concerned that they're going to get priced out of the market right now, as a shortage of housing supply is causing prices to be bid up in some areas, the new Case-Shiller data should have a calming effect. Yes, prices are rising. But they're not rising off the charts. The big jumps are in places like Phoenix (with a nearly 20-percent gain), San Francisco, Denver, and Miami.

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