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US Home prices and rents continue upwards

Sean Wang - Tuesday, August 21, 2012

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Residential real estate values in the United States continued to climb in July, increasing 0.5% from the previous month, the latest index from Zillow shows.

Home values were up 1.2% year on year and 62% of the metros covered in the reports saw home values climb during the month, with only 49 of the 167 metro areas experiencing declines. Of the 30 largest metro areas covered, the Phoenix metro area experienced the largest monthly increase, with home values rising 2.2%. Other large metro areas with notable monthly increases include the San Francisco metro up 1.2% and the Denver metro up 1%. The firms Rent Index shows that last month residential rents also continued to rise, climbing 0.2% month on month and 5.4% year on year.

Nationally, rents have increased in six out of the past 12 months, with 70% of metros experiencing rent increases from June to July. Rents have experienced double digit, annual increases in several large metro areas where home values continue to decline, including Chicago at 12.6%, Providence in Rhode Island by 12.1% and Baltimore by 11.9%. Zillow said this is likely due to both continued high foreclosure levels in these markets, which increases rental demand, as well as consumer reluctance to buy when home values continue to fall. This summer, the housing market continued to heal, as home values experienced their eighth consecutive month of increases. Tight inventory levels are leading to bidding wars and multiple offers across the country, said Zillow chief Economist Stan Humphries.

Looking ahead, we expect to see less aggressive increases in the fall as rising values lift some would be sellers out of negative equity, allowing them to place their homes on the market, he added. The index also shows that foreclosures continued to decline in July, with 5.7 out of every 10,000 homes in the country being foreclosed. That was down from 6.5 out of every 10,000 homes in June.