The Case-Shiller house price index going back to January 1989.

The Case-Shiller house price index going back to January 1989.

After one of the strongest spring housing markets in several years in the Twin Cities and beyond, all eyes are on house prices, which by some measures have returned to, or exceeded, pre-crash levels in some parts of the metro. The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices released Tuesday morning shows that prices across the 13-county metro are posting healthy, moderate gains, but are still far from peak.

During April, the index rose increased 3.19 percent to 142.78. That year-over-year gain is slightly below the national average, but consistent with previous increases for the Twin Cities. What's more telling is that the index is still nearly 28 points below the September 2006 peak, but 34 points higher than post-crash low of 109.

The Case-Shiller report, which tracks repeat sales of the same house using public records, suggests that house prices in the metro have much farther to go than a monthly report from the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors (MAA), which tracks the median price of all sales that are listed with a Realtor through the Regional Multiple Listing Service. The MAAR report shows that during May the median sale price was $224,000 compared with a previous high of $238,000 in June 2006. Statistically speaking, the median price in the metro is getting a lift becuase of change in the mix of what's selling. Deeply discounted foreclosures now represent only a fraction of all sales, with more expensive move-up houses taking their place.

We'll have the June sales data from MAAR on July 13. Though it's still a seller's market with buyers outpacing sellers in some parts of the metro, I don't expect the median price for June to exceed the 2006 high.

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