From the WSJ:
Home prices in the second quarter rose from the year-ago period for the first time since 2007, according to a closely watched index, the latest indication the housing market is starting to recover.
The report, which is scheduled to be released Tuesday by real-estate firm Zillow Inc., found that for the quarter ending in June, home values were up 0.2% from the same period in 2011.
While other indicators have shown home prices turning up since the spring, most examined short-term changes from one month to the next. Other indexes reported gains in median sales prices, which can be skewed based on the type of homes that are sold. But Zillow measures prices of comparable homes in the same community, which some economists say provides a truer picture of market trends.
Nearly one-third of the 167 metropolitan areas tracked by Zillow posted annual price increases for the second quarter compared with the year-ago period. Prices rose fastest in cities with fewer homes for sale and strong investor demand.
“It seems clear that the country has hit a bottom in home values,” said Stan Humphries, Zillow’s chief economist, who had previously forecast that housing wouldn’t hit bottom until late this year or early in 2013. The fact that the gains came during a period in which the economy wasn’t very strong suggests “there’s some fundamental organic strength to the housing market,” Mr. Humphries said.