The problem with home-price data issued by S&P/Case-Shiller and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) is that it's two-months in arrears. In today's age of instantaneous everything, two months can seem like an eternity.

Truth be told, other price-data providers – Trulia, CoreLogic, Zillow – are more current with their releases, which is pricewhy we tend to downplay the price data issued by Case-Shiller and FHFA.

That said, Case-Shiller and the FHFA have street cred among many market watchers, so they're findings are worth mentioning, especially when they continue to support the previously released data from other price providers.

Most of the previously released data already show that home prices trended higher, though at a slower pace, in July and August; therefore, we weren't surprised to see that Case-Shiller's and the FHFA's data also show prices trending higher but at a slower pace in July. Case-Shiller reported that prices increased for a sixth-consecutive month at a 0.4% rate in its 20-city index; FHFA's index showed prices increased 0.2%.

Rising prices have taken some of the steam out of new-home sales, which slipped 0.3% in August. Home builders might have sold fewer homes for the month, but the homes they did sell were fetching a far higher price. The average price for a new home was up a whopping 9.1% to $295,300 for August, which pushed the year-over-year rate of increase up to 13.9%.

We now see that the average price for a new home has risen to mid-2008 levels.

We don't expect the price trend to reverse either. Supply remains at an ultra-low level at only 141,000 homes for sale. Low supply will keep prices elevated while at the same time encourage home builders to start new projects (thus contributing to economic growth). In fact, housing starts are now at a level unseen in four years.

There is another positive to rising home prices, and that's rising levels of equity. Of course, that doesn't apply to new home, but existing home sales have also risen in 2012. In fact, they've risen to the point that economists at Deutsche Bank calculate that home equity grew by $827 billion over the past four reported quarters (ending with the second quarter of 2012.)

Rising levels of home equity means less negative equity and more consumers who are able to buy and sell a home. It also means fewer mortgage defaults; fewer borrowers default when they find themselves in a positive-equity position.

The above graph also highlights the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, which hit a new all-time low this past week. A number of factors contributed to the rate drop: Gross domestic product being unexpectedly revised down to 1.3% from 1.7% for the second quarter was a leading factor.

The Federal Reserve's purchases of mortgage-backed securities (MBS) was another. Earlier this month, the Fed announced it would step up purchases of these security. The impact on mortgage lending rates has been immediate. Moreover, as long as the Fed continues to purchase these securities, and it has promised to purchase up to $40 billion a month, it appears unlikely that rates will move materially higher anytime soon.

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