Along with the usual monthly data, S&P/Case Shiller Home Price Indices released this morning also included data for all of 2012.  The indices, a measure of U.S. home prices ended the year with strong gain with the national composite index up 7.3 percent for the year and the 10-City and 20-City Indices posting increases of 5.9 percent and 6.8 percent respectively.

On a month-over-month basis both the 10- and the 20- City Indices gained 0.2 percent, reversing the 0.2 percent loss in the 10-City data in November and the 0.1 loss for the 20-City Index.

Nineteen of the 20 cities tracked by Case-Shiller posted positive year-over-year growth ranging from 2.2 percent in Chicago to 23.0 percent in Phoenix.  Other strong showings were seen in Minneapolis (12.2 percent), Las Vegas (12.9 percent), Detroit (13.6 percent), and San Francisco (14.4 percent).  The only exception to the increases, New York, was down 0.5 percent.

In December nine MSAs posted positive monthly gains and 11 declined.  The largest increase, 1.8 percent, was in Las Vegas; the largest negative number was -0.7 percent for Chicago.

David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones said "Home prices ended 2012 with solid gains.  Housing and residential construction led the economy in the 2012 fourth quarter.  The National Composite increased 7.3 percent over the four quarters of 2012.  From its low in the first quarter, it surged in the second and third quarter and slipped slightly in the 2012 fourth period.  The 10- and 20-City Composites, which bottomed out in March 2012 continued to show both year-over-year and monthly gains in December.  These movements, combined with other housing data, suggest that while housing is on the upswing some of the strongest numbers may have already been seen."

As of December average home prices across the U.S. for the 10-City and 20-City Indices are back to their autumn 2003 levels.  Measured from the June/July 2006 peaks both indices are down 30 percent but both are approximately 8.9 percent above their recent lows of March 2012.

The Case-Shiller indices have a base value of 100 set in January 2000.  Thus, for example, a current index value of 150 translates to a 50 percent appreciation since that date for a typical home within the subject market.  Only Atlanta and Detroit remain below their index values for January 2000 with Atlanta having a current index value of 95.95 and Detroit 80.04.  The National Composite Index was at 135.22 at the end of December, the 10-City was 158.49 and the 20-City was 145.95.