April 30 - February home prices up 1.2 percent, best yearly rise in almost seven years, according to the S&P/Case Shiller index. Conway G. Gittens reports.
Your Daily Digit today is 1.2 percent. Single-family home prices rose 1.2 percent in February, according to the closely watched S&P/Case Shiller composite index. It looks at home prices in 20 metropolitan U.S. cities. It's the biggest annual climb since May 2006 on a seasonally adjusted basis, and it tops forecasts for 0.9 percent. Housing is not succumbing to the slowdown being felt in other parts of the economy because it is not exposed to cutbacks in government spending, says David Blitzer of S&P Dow Jones Indices. SOUNDBITE: DAVID BLITZER, MANAGING DIRECTOR, S&P DOW JONES INDICES (ENGLISH) SAYING: "We have recently seen the first bit of the infamous sequester of federal cut backs and so and that's probably one of things that's weighing on the economy but housing is being mostly driven by our friends at the Federal Reserve and their quantitiative easing and that's not part of the sequester by any means." The biggest gains are in some of the cities hardest hit by the crisis, including Phoenix, Atlanta and Las Vegas. And, on average, national home prices are back to the levels from the autumn of 2003. What exactly is that a price? Here is a clue. A separate report released earlier this month by the National Association of Realtors showed the median price of a previously owned home topping $184,000 for the month of March.