Home prices rose in all major U.S. cities in June

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- A sharp boost in home prices during the spring could signal a recovery in the long-suffering U.S. housing market, according to an industry report issued Tuesday.

The S&P/Case-Shiller national home price index, which covers more than 80% of the housing market in the United States, climbed 6.9% in the three months ended June 30 compared to the first three months of 2012.

"We seem to be witnessing exactly what we needed for a sustained recovery; monthly increases coupled with improving annual rates of change," said David Blitzer, a spokesman for S&P, in a statement. "The market may have finally turned around."

Two other key indexes covered in the S&P/Case-Shiller report also showed gains. The 20-city index was up 6% for the quarter and the 10-city index rose 5.8%.

National prices were up 1.2% compared with a year earlier and the 20-city and 10-city indexes also gained year over year. It was the first time all three measures showed positive annual growth rates since the summer of 2010.

There have been several positive industry reports over the past several weeks. In July, new home sales were 25% better than a year earlier; existing home sales gained 10% year-over-year; and developers applied for 30% more residential building permits.

The steep increase in home prices "feels really good after six years of straight down," said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Analytics.

He cautioned that the results may overstate the case for the housing recovery a bit. The mix of homes being sold has changed lately, with fewer repossessed homes on the market. Those sell at big discounts to conventionally sold homes and had been propelling prices downward.

Each of the 20 cities covered in the report recorded a gain in June, compared with a month earlier. Detroit prices jumped 6% for the month, the most of any city. Minneapolis prices climbed 4.8% and Chicago prices rose 4.6%.

In Phoenix. home prices were 13.9% higher in June than 12 months earlier, the highest gain of any of the 20 cities covered.

Several cities were still in negative territory year over year, including Atlanta, where they were off 12.1%. New York prices were down 2.1% on an annual basis, and Las Vegas prices were 1.8% lower.

For Zandi, all the positive news on housing carries over to the rest of the economy.

"Housing is beginning to act as a tailwind for the recovery," he said.