Photo of Denver, CO.Although Denver has not yet bridged the gap, home prices are restoring. One of only 13 cities that showed a year over year increase, Denver is still a great place to be!

For the seventh month in a row, home prices in the Denver area showed a year-over-year price increase in May, rising 3.6 percent from May 2009, according to the latest S&P/Case-Shiller Home Prices Index, released Tuesday.

Also, local prices rose 0.6 percent in May from April levels.

But both increases were below the average for the 20 U.S. cities tracked by the closely-watched Case-Shiller report from Standard & Poor’s.

The metro-Denver price increases came even though the deadline for new home puchase offers to be eligible for the federal homebuyer tax credit expired April 30. Homes that were under contract by then are still eligible for the credit, however.

Out of 20 cities covered in the Case-Shiller report, Denver was one of 13 that showed a year-over-year increase in File:Denver-Colorado-The Mountains.jpgprices in May.

In April, Denver saw a 4.4 percent year-over-year price increase, the largest of the last six months. As compared to a year earlier, Denver prices climbed 4.1 percent in March, 3.6 percent in February, 2.6 percent in January, 1.2 percent in December 2009 and 0.5 percent in November 2009.

November 2009’s rise was the first year-over-year home price increase in the Denver area since November 2006, according to a Denver Business Journal analysis of Case-Shiller data. Between those months, Denver had 36 straight months of year-over-year price declines.

As recently as early 2009, Denver was showing year-over-year home price declines of 5 percent or more, peaking at a 5.7 percent drop in February 2009.

As far as month-to-month price changes, Denver’s 0.6 percent price rise in May over the previous month followed a 1.7 percent monthly increase in April and a 0.6 percent rise in March. Before that, Denver experienced month-to-month price declines every month between September 2009 and February 2010.

File:Denver Colorado Airport.jpgFor all 20 cities in the latest Case-Shiller report, home prices in May rose an average 4.6 percent from the same month of 2009, and rose 1.3 percent from the previous month.

“While May’s report on its own looks somewhat positive, a broader look at home price levels over the past year still do not indicate that the housing market is in any form of sustained recovery,” David Blitzer, chairman of S&P’s Index Committee, said in the Case-Shiller report. “Since reaching its recent trough in April 2009, the housing market has really only stabilized at this lower level.”

The report assigns index values to the 20 cities based on current average home prices in relation to what they were in January 2000.

Denver’s index for May was 128.24, meaning that prices were 28.2 percent higher than they were in January 2000. The 20-city average index was 146.43 for May.

Denver ranked 11th among the 20 cities in the May report in its rate of home-price growth over the previous year.

San Francisco — which suffered some of the nation’s most severe declines in home values through the Great Recession — saw the biggest year-over-year price increase in May of the 20 cities: 18.3 percent. It was followed by San Diego, up 12.4 percent, and Minneapolis, up 11.6 percent.

On the other hand, prices in Las Vegas dropped 6.5 percent in May from a year earlier, while Charlotte saw a 2.8 percent decline and Detroit a 2.5 percent drop.

As for month-to-month price changes, only Charlotte and Las Vegas scored under Denver’s 0.6 percent increase: Las Vegas saw a 0.5 percent monthly price drop, and Charlotte had a 0.3 percent price gain. Atlanta scored the biggest monthly price gain: 2 percent.

The Case-Shiller index is compiled by comparing matched-price pairs for thousands of single-family homes in each market. Standard & Poor’s and Fiserv Inc. publish it.

Click Here to download the latest Case Shiller Report

via Case-Shiller Index: Denver home prices up 3.6% from 2009 – Denver Business Journal.