U.S. home prices increased 0.1% in February compared to January and were up 4.2% compared to February 2014, according to S&P/Case-Shiller home price index (HPI).
The rate of appreciation, however, continued to slow: January's year-over-year increase, for comparison, was 4.5%.
The report shows that home prices are rebounding faster in the major metropolitan areas: The 10-city and 20-city composites (representing the 10 largest and 20 largest U.S. cities) each saw home prices increase 0.5% in February compared to January.
Year over year, the 10-city composite saw home prices increase 4.8%, up from 4.3% in January, while the 20-city composite saw prices increase 5.0%, up from a 4.5% increase in January.
San Francisco and Denver saw the biggest monthly increases in the average home price in February at 2.0% and 1.4%, respectively.
Cleveland reported the largest decrease at -1.0%. Las Vegas and Boston reported decreases of -0.3% and -0.2%, respectively.
‘Home prices continue to rise and outpace both inflation and wage gains," says David M. Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, in a release. "The [HPI] has seen 34 consecutive months with positive year-over-year gains; all 20 cities have shown year-over-year gains every month since the end of 2012.’
Blitzer notes that although home prices are rebounding, only two cities – Denver and Dallas – have surpassed their housing boom peaks.
‘Nationally, prices are almost 10 percent below the high set in July 2006,’ he says. ‘Las Vegas fell 61.7 percent peak to trough and has the farthest to go to set a new high; it is 41.5 percent below its high. If a complete recovery means new highs all around, we're not there yet.’
Blitzer additionally notes that new construction of single-family homes ‘remains very weak despite low vacancy rates among both renters and owner-occupied homes.’