US house prices post first rise in five years
American house prices have officially bottomed out, according to one of the country's respected market barometers.
The Zillow Home Value index, compiled by a company which maintains a database of all homes available for sale and rent in the United States, saw its first year-on-year rise in nearly five years in the 12 months ending in June.
The modest increase, of 0.2 per cent, was nevertheless being taken as a sign that a recovery was beginning to take hold, after the index had recorded small rises in average prices month-on-month for each of the last four months.
"After four months with rising home values and increasingly positive forecast data, it seems clear that the country has hit a bottom in home values," said Zillow's chief economist, Dr Stan Humphries.
"The housing recovery is holding together despite lower-than-expected job growth, indicating that it has some organic strength of its own," Dr Humphries added.
But he said that, as foreclosures were rising again, this would translate into more homes coming onto the market by the end of the year, and concluded: "Looking forward, we expect home values to remain relatively flat as the market works through a backlog of foreclosures and high rates of negative equity."
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