Black Knight Financial Services (formerly Lender Processing Services) reports that home values in the U.S. as of December had recovered to within 13.9 percent of the peak reached in 2006.  Measured by Black Knight's Home Price Index (HPI) the national single family home price was $232,000, a 0.1 percent increase from November and 8.4 percent above the $214,000 HPI in December 2012.  Nationally home prices topped out in June 2006 at $270,000.

Black Knight says however that prices retreated slightly in December in 14 of the 20 largest states with the largest declines of 0.4 percent in North Carolina and Washington and 0.3 percent in Connecticut and Maryland.  The largest increase was in New York, up 0.7 percent, followed by Florida at 0.6 percent and Oklahoma, Texas, and Nebraska, each up 0.4 percent. 

Among metro areas the largest monthly increase was in Miami, which increased 1.2 percent to $240,000.  This is still 31 percent below the peak of $352,000 the city achieved in May 2006.  In addition to Miami seven other Florida cities made the top ten among major metropolitan areas; Sarasota (0.9 percent), Key West (0.7), Fort Walton Beach, Lakeland, Port St. Lucie at 6 percent each and Naples and Palm Bay at 5 percent.  Tulsa and Poughkeepsie, New York rounded out the top ten metro areas.

Three Texas cities once again surpassed previous peak price levels.  The three, Houston, Austin, and Dallas have done this almost monthly since last July.  They had respective price increases of 0.5, 0.4, and 0.3 percent respectively from November to December to establish new peaks of $188,000 in Houston, $243,000 in Austin and $186,000 in Dallas. 

Black Knight bases its HPI on a repeat sales analysis of home prices from the relevant month's residential real estate transactions combined with its loan-level databases.  The data covers 18,500 U.S. ZIP codes and takes into account price discounts for REO and short sales.