The tide is turning nationwide, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller index, and New York real estate is doing better than average: from June to July, U.S. house prices rose by 1.6 percent, with 18 out of 20 U.S. cities reporting gains, with New York reported to have the seventh best housing market measure in the study. This was the third consecutive month-to-month gain and the biggest monthly gain in four years, although prices are still far off from the 2006 peak. Overall home prices are now at 2003 levels, still off by 32.6 percent from 2006.

Moreover, data released by the National Association of Realtors showing deals signed but not yet completed indicated that pending sales rose by 6.4 percent in August, up by 12.4 percent from last year. In the northeast, sales rose by 8.2 percent. The rise is partially attributed to the $8,000 tax credit to first-time home buyers–which expire next month–as well as the Federal Reserve’s buying of mortgage-backed securities–which is now being slowed down. This prompted Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher to caution that “this is a sector on life support.”

New York metro home prices rose 0.8 percent in July, making them 10.3 percent down compared to last year, dragging back up from the 12.4-percent drop in 2009 thus far. San Francisco, Minneapolis, Chicago and Atlanta saw the biggest rises, while Seattle and Las Vegas were the only cities surveyed with home prices falling. Compared to January 2000 levels, New York has kept 74 percent of its price appreciation, or the second highest among the cities tracked, after Washington, which has kept 76 percent.

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