A home price index based on multiple listing service data showed national home prices were up 3.8 percent from a year ago in July, the biggest annual increase since August 2006.
Home prices were down from a year ago in 23 of the 100 largest markets tracked by data aggregator CoreLogic's home price index, but that's four fewer than in June.
And while the index showed national home prices are still off 27.2 percent from their April 2006 peak, CoreLogic's pending home price index predicts home prices will post month-over-month appreciation of 1.3 percent in August, as they did in July. An increase like that in August would amount to 6 percent year-over-year growth.
The pace of price appreciation is moderating as markets transition to the off-season for homebuying, CoreLogic noted. But CoreLogic Chief Economist Mark Fleming predicted prices will post gains for the full year.
The five states with the highest annual price appreciation were Arizona (16.6 percent), Idaho (10 percent), Utah (9.3 percent), South Dakota (8.3 percent) and Colorado (7.3 percent).
Home prices in Arizona were still 42.8 percent below their 2006 peak. Only Nevada (-56 percent) and Florida (-44.2 percent) have fallen further. Other states with the largest peak-to-current price drops included California (-38 percent) and Michigan (-37.4 percent).
"It's been six years since the housing market last experienced the gains that we saw in July, with indications the summer will finish up on a strong note," said Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic, in a statement. "Although we expect some slowing in price gains over the balance of 2012, we are clearly seeing the light at the end of a very long tunnel."
Single-family annual price gains, July 2012
Year-over-year change, including distressed
Year-over-year change, excluding distressed
Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Texas
New York-White Plains-Wayne, N.Y.-N.J.
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif.
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif.
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Ga.
The latest S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, which include data through June, show national home prices up 1.2 percent from a year ago during the second quarter. All of the markets in the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city composite posted annual gains for the second month in a row, and all but two -- Charlotte and Dallas -- posted better annual returns in June compared to May.Source: CoreLogic