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Home prices reach new highs in August

A ‘for sale’ is seen outside a single family house in Uniondale, New York. U.S. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Home prices in the U.S. ended the summer on a high note.

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Price Index was up 6.1% in August, up from 5.9% a month earlier. The 0.2% increase met analysts’ expectations. All but one of the 20 cities in the city index reported increases in August before and after seasonal adjustment. Low interest rates coupled with increased housing demand and limited existing home inventory continued to put upward pressure on prices.

“Home price increases appear to be unstoppable,” said David M. Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, in a press statement, noting that housing is outpacing the rest of the economy. “Most prices across the rest of the economy are barely moving compared to housing. Aside from oil, the only other major item with price gains close to housing was hospital services, which were up 4.6%. Wages climbed 3.6% in the year to August.”

All-time highs

The 20-city index posted a 5.9% year-over-year gain, up from 5.8% the previous month. The results beat expectations. “We look for only a small increase in the seasonally adjusted monthly data reported by Case-Shiller because the middle months of the year have tended to be soft in recent years despite efforts at seasonal adjustment,” wrote JPMorgan in a research note.

Atlanta was the only city to record a decline in prices, slipping 0.2% in August from the previous month. Seattle and Las Vegas led the index with the highest year-over-year gains, with a 13.2% and 8.6% increase, respectively. San Diego recorded a 7.8% gain in August.

“The price gains are not simply a rebound from the financial crisis; nationally home prices have reached new all-time highs,” said Blitzer.

Amanda Fung is an editor at Yahoo Finance.