Home values rose for the 15th consecutive month in January, according to ""Zillow's"":http://www.zillow.com/ most recent Real Estate Market Reports.[IMAGE]
Zillow's Home Value Index (HVI) rose to $158,100 in January, up 0.7 percent from December and 6.2 percent year-over-year. The 6.2 percent annual gain is the largest since July 2006, when home values reportedly rose 7.5 percent year-over-year.
According to Zillow, the last time national home values were at this level was in June 2004.
Out of the 30 largest metro areas covered by Zillow, 27 showed monthly home value appreciation. San Francisco led the way with a 2.0 percent gain, followed by Tampa, [COLUMN_BREAK]
Florida (2.0 percent); San Diego (1.8 percent); Riverside, California (1.7 percent); and Sacramento (1.5 percent).
On an annual basis, every one of the cities tracked in the report posted gains. The biggest yearly improvement occurred in Phoenix, Arizona, which saw a 21.9 percent increase. The next biggest cities for annual value gains were San Francisco (17.2 percent); San Jose (16.8 percent); Las Vegas (16.2 percent); and Sacramento (13.7 percent).
""The winter months are typically when things cool off in the housing market, but high demand and continued tight inventory in many markets have helped keep things at a boil through the early part of 2013,"" said Dr. Stan Humphries, chief economist at Zillow. ""Demand will continue to be high throughout 2013, which will help home values and rents alike continue to rise.""
While Zillow's HVI recorded substantial gains, the Rent Index saw a seasonal monthly decline, dropping 0.2 percent to a value of $1,271. Year-over-year, national rents were up about 4.3 percent in January.
While foreclosure activity has seen a drop-off in recent months, Humphries noted that it still remains high and should create a dual effect of nurturing rental demand (as displaced homeowners seek new lodgings) and adding supply to many markets.