US home prices rise 3.5% in June

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home prices rose at a slightly slower pace in June, but the U.S. housing market continued to show resilience in the face of the coronvavirus pandemic.

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 3.5% in June from a year earlier, down from May’s 3.6% increase and slightly below economists’ expectations.

Phoenix led the way with a 9% increase followed by Seattle (up 6.5%) and Tampa (up 5.9%). But prices rose at all 19 cities measured in June. The 20-city index released Tuesday excluded prices from the Detroit metropolitan area index because of delays related to pandemic at the recording office in Wayne County, which includes Detroit.

“The June Case-Shiller numbers show the housing market continues to withstand the pandemic-driven blows that have caused so many other facets of the economy to suffer,” said economist Matthew Speakman at the real estate firm Zillow.

The continuing spread of COVID-19 cases and Congress’ failure to approve more financial aid to the economy “could jeopardize the path of the economic recovery,” Speakman wrote in a research report. But those “concerns haven’t materialized in home prices to this point.”

The National Association of Realtors reported last week that sales of existing U.S. home shot up by a record 24.7% in July, the second straight month of accelerating sales. The back-to-back increases have helped stabilize the home buying market, which all but froze this spring when the viral pandemic struck the United States.

In another good sign for the housing industry, the Commerce Department reported last week that construction of new U.S. homes surged 22.6% last month as homebuilders bounced back from a lull induced by the coronavirus pandemic.

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