Data released this morning offered more support for a recovering U.S. housing market.
The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller index of home prices in 20 cities rose 1.6% in July. That marked the fourth consecutive monthly increase in home prices, which are now at an almost two-year high, the Los Angeles Times noted.
All 20 cities in the index posted month-over-month price gains for the third straight month. Prices rose 1.2% compared to last year. That topped analysts, who expected a 1.1% increase over 2011.
Despite the gains, home prices in the 20 largest cities remain 30% lower than their highest point in 2006.
Phoenix posted the largest year-over-year price rise, while home prices in Atlanta remain down 9.9% from 2011, but rose 2.6% compared to June.
Economists said the new report confirmed positive trends in the housing market.
Housing stocks posted gains on the good news. Shares of Toll Brothers (NYSE:TOL) rose fractionally, while D.R. Horton (NYSE:DHI) gained 1% and Ryland (NYSE:RYL) moved up almost 2% in Tuesday morning trading.