San Diego County home prices rose 2.5 percent between June and July, according to the most recent installment of the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller home price index, released this morning.

July prices, however, were still down 12.32 percent from where they were in July 2008.

The sizable monthly bump marks the third straight month prices have risen in the closely watched index, which tracks price changes on the same houses over time. Even the version of the index that is adjusted for normal seasonal factors showed a 1.97 percent increase between June and July.

The index showed positive monthly changes across all of its pricing tiers. Here’s a more detailed breakdown:

  • Low tier (homes priced under $275,970): Prices up 1.84 percent between June and July; down 17.4 percent year-over-year; down 51.4 percent from that tier’s peak in June 2006.
  • Middle tier (homes priced between $275,970 and $420,666): Prices up 1.54 percent from June to July; down 10.76 percent year-over-year; down 39.26 percent from the peak in November 2005.
  • High tier (homes priced over $420,666): Prices up 2.05 percent from June to July; down 11.73 percent year-over-year; down 30.25 percent from the peak in June 2006.

(All tiers showed month-to-month gains, though slighter, in the seasonally adjusted version, too.)

The index assigned a value of 100 to home prices in January 2000. By the San Diego market peak in November 2005, the index had reached 250.34, indicating that prices had risen 150 percent in less than six years. July’s index shows that prices are down 39.69 percent from that peak, but are still 50.99 percent higher than that January 2000 level.

The national versions of the index showed “broad improvement,” according to a press release. Here’s Case-Shiller’s chief economist, David Blitzer, with some hopeful — yet cautionary — words about the future of the housing market:

These figures continue to support an indication of stabilization in national real estate values, but we do need to be cautious in coming months to assess whether the housing market will weather the expiration of the Federal First-Time Buyer’s Tax Credit in November, anticipated higher unemployment rates and a possible increase in foreclosures.


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