Home prices headed higher for August, according to an S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index report (link opens as PDF) released today.

After bumping up 0.6% for July, the index's seasonally adjusted 20-city home price composite increased 0.9% for August. Following an expectations miss for July, analysts were pleasantly surprised by this month's report, having predicted slightly smaller 0.7% growth. 

According to the report, 14 of the 20 cities and both the 10- and 20-city composites registered increases in annual growth rates from July's numbers. Las Vegas prices increased the most, up 2.9% to their highest level since 2004 .

"Both composites showed their highest annual increases since February 2006," noted David Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, in a statement today. "All 20 cities reported positive year-over-year returns. Thirteen cities posted double-digit annual gains."

But not all of Blitzer's news is good. Detroit home prices remain below 2000 levels, and fewer mortgage applications at higher rates could have contributed to the fact that 16 of the cities recorded smaller absolute price gains for August compared to July.

For the 12 months ending in September, both the 10- and 20-city composites showed average home prices increasing 12.8%. 

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