NEW YORK (
) -- Home prices continued to rise in May, with the 10-city and 20-city composite indices posting their highest year-over-year gains since March 2006.
The 20-City Composite Index rose 2.4% from April and 12.2% year-over-year. On a seasonally-adjusted basis, the index rose 1%.
Economists polled by Bloomberg expected the 20-city Composite Index to rise 1.3% in May on a seasonally adjusted basis. On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, home prices were projected to rise 2% in May on a monthly basis, and 12.3% year-over-year.
The Case-Shiller Index is based on a three-month moving average, so this index captures home price action for March, April and May.
The impact of rising interest rates in May on the index is therefore likely to be somewhat muted.
According to the report, home prices for all 20 cities tracked by the index increased year-over-year and month-over-month on a seasonally- adjusted basis.
"Home prices continue to strengthen," says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. "Two cities set new highs, surpassing their pre-crisis levels and five cities - Atlanta, Chicago, San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle - posted monthly gains of over three percent, also a first time event."
The Southwest and the West showed the strongest gains, with San Francisco home prices up 24.5% year-over-year, followed by Las Vegas (Up 23.3%) and Phoenix, up 20.6%. New York, Cleveland and Washington D.C. lagged.
As of May 2013, average home prices across the United States are back to their spring 2004 levels. The recovery from the March 2012 lows is 15.9% and 16.5% for the 10-City and 20-City Composites. But measured from the June/July 2006 peak, the indices are still 24 to 25% lower.
LPS said home prices
gained 1.3% in May from April. The LPS Home Price Index is based on closings in April alone and is not seasonally adjusted. It also represents the prices of non-distressed sales by taking into account the discounts of foreclosures and short sales.
-- Written by Shanthi Bharatwaj in New York.