San Diego County home prices rose again, bumping up 1.1 percent from April to May. That boosted prices 12.4 percent higher the same time last year.

The numbers, contained in the newest Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller home price index released this morning, marked May as the 13th straight month of increases.

An important note: Case-Shiller price measures come with a two-month lag, so we won’t have numbers that include June for another month. But the numbers Rich Toscano crunched for an initial look show that June’s prices dropped even though the stimulus was still in play. It’ll be an interesting thing to watch next month.

Back to May and this new Case-Shiller index. S&P analysts said though the April-to-May numbers looked good for 19 out of the 20 cities the index tracks, the housing market is usually strong this time of year. And that’s not to mention the “residual impact” from the federal homebuyers’ tax credit, which affects any home purchase that closed through June 30. (Remember, these new data only track sales through May.)

Here’s David Blitzer, chairman of S&P’s Index Committee:

We need to watch where the housing markets will go after these temporary stimuli go away. … It still looks possible that the housing market might bounce along the bottom for the foreseeable future, before showing any real improvement that will filter through to the rest of the economy.

But here’s a place where the numbers don’t look so sunny. I don’t often post details about what other cities are doing, but these are a compelling look at the trouble in other places.

Las Vegas logged a new low in May. Prices there have now fallen 56.4 percent from the market peak in August 2006. That means Las Vegas’s market has given back about all the gains it posted in the last 10 years.

That’s not the worst picture, though. Detroit’s index in May reached a level the city hadn’t seen since late 1994 — “indicating that any appreciation in value during the past 15 years is now gone,” analysts wrote.

Comparatively, in San Diego, between the peak in November 2005 and the lowest point in April 2009, prices fell 42.3 percent. Prices have rebounded about 13 percent since then.

Broken into price tiers, the middle tier (homes priced between $315,863 and $472,679) fared the best between April and May, registering a 1.5 percent increase. On either side of that range, the bottom tier rose 0.7 percent and the top tier rose 0.2 percent.


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