WASHINGTON — Home prices increased in May from April in every city tracked by a leading index, a sign that increasing sales and tight inventories are supporting a modest housing recovery.
Seattle-area home prices, including Pierce County, rose 2.6 percent from April to May, in line with a national trend that lifted home prices in all 20 metropolitan areas tracked by the closely watched Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller home price index, which locally includes King, Snohomish and Pierce counties.
It was the second monthly increase for Seattle-area home prices after seven straight months of decline, putting local prices just 0.6 percent higher than they were a year ago.
The local increase exceeded the average rise of 2.2 percent across the 20 metro areas. In the previous period, from March to April, Seattle prices increased 2.0 percent, according to Case-Shiller.
Chicago, Atlanta and San Francisco posted the biggest monthly increases. Detroit, San Diego and Charlotte posted the smallest gains. Phoenix, one of the hardest-hit cities in the housing slump, posted the strongest year-over-year gain in home prices. Still, prices there remain more than 50 percent below their peak, reached in summer 2006.
The increases partly reflect the effect of seasonal buying. The month-to-month prices aren’t adjusted for seasonal factors.
In the past year, the 20-city price index has dropped 0.7 percent, the smallest decline since September 2010. That’s much lower than the 1.8 percent year-over-year decline in April. Even with the gains, the index is 33 percent below its peak reached in the summer of 2006, at the height of the housing boom. Based on the 20-city index, home prices are now at about the same level as in early 2003.The Seattle Times contributed to this report.