Sharga: u201cThe numbers suggest fewer distressed properties in the mix and properties sold at less of a discount.u201d

IRVINE, CA-The housing recovery continues pretty much across all markets, although the rate of recovery is beginning to vary dramatically market by market, Rick Sharga, EVP of, tells Sharga’s reaction to the recently released S&P/Cash-Shiller Home Price Indices is that there are no surprises in the findings.

“Dallas and Denver are at all-time highs,” says Sharga. “Part of that, in the case of Dallas, is because Dallas didn’t have as significant a fall-off as other markets did. But still, to move from recovery to peak is pretty significant.”

Sharga adds that because the Case-Shiller indices include distressed assets, “we can make an educated guess that the numbers suggest fewer distressed properties in the mix and properties sold at less of a discount.” This finding is in keeping with other news on which has recently reported.

Also, since the Case-Shiller indices tend to be a bit of a lagging indicator, they may not reflect the impact of rising mortgage interest rates on home prices, Sharga points out. “But the rate of appreciation is beginning to slow a bit, which is healthy for the market.”

The recently released indices for June downplay drastic regional differences, says Peter Muoio, senior principal and economist with Research. The indices showed continued housing gains, with the 10-city composite increasing 1.1% and the 20-cit composite up 0.9% month to month on a seasonally adjusted basis.

“Fifteen markets showed seasonally adjusted month-to-month increases, while five declined,” says Muoio. “All 20 markets are up year-over-year by some 12%. The 20-city composite is now up 15.7% from the trough, though it is important to note that this still leaves home prices down 23.4% from their pre-bust peak. As always, however, the devil is in the details.”

And the details are as follows. Three of the five markets that showed monthly declines correspond to markets whose economies has flagged as flagging, Muoio continues. “Washington, DC, which is feeling the impact of federal cuts and the sequester, has seen employment decline 0.4% over the past six months. Home prices dipped 0.2% in June, according to the Cash-Shiller report, and a longer-term view shows a much less robust home-price recovery in Washington, DC, with prices up just 10.7% from their trough.”

Both Detroit and Cleveland have seen their economies stall from the earlier manufacturing rebound, and both of these markets posted declines in home prices, with Detroit’s 1.4% monthly decline the worst among the 20 markets, Muoio adds.

“On the flip side, much attention is being paid to the sharp jumps in home prices in Phoenix and Las Vegas,” Muoio says. “However, these increases are off extremely depressed levels. Las Vegas home prices are still a whopping 50.2% below their pre-bust level, and Phoenix is still down 40.1%. While the Phoenix economy is recovering, with moderate but pretty consistent job growth, the Las Vegas economy has shown far less economic recovery. As a result, the economic base for the Phoenix housing recovery looks somewhat firmer to us than is the case in Las Vegas.”

While San Diego garnered attention for its group-leading 2.2% month-over-month seasonally adjusted home-price increase, Muoio says the real start of the show, according to, is Dallas, where home prices increased 0.4% month over month, but the 8% growth over the past year and 12.1% growth from the trough have placed Dallas home prices 1.4% above their pre-recession peak. “This makes Dallas and Denver the only housing markets among the Case-Shiller 20 that have surpassed their previous highs—energy, anyone?—and underscores our previous commentary about the strong economies and housing markets throughout Texas.”