Home Prices Back to Peak Levels, Says Case-Shiller

House value indices show return to prices not seen since 2006.

According to the latest S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices, home prices have steadily risen across the United States over the last 12 months, ultimately topping the peak reached in July 2006—right before the last housing boom went bust.

The highest year-over-year gains occurred in Seattle, Portland, and Denver. Home sellers there have a right to be excited. However, those cities are doing so well that they're tilting the average a bit, and disguising the fact that home prices in other parts of the U.S. haven't fully recovered.

The report notes, for example, that the cities "that experienced the biggest booms--Miami, Tampa, Phoenix and Las Vegas--remain well below their all-time highs."

So whether you're buying or selling a home, it will remain crucial to study your local market and get to know the comparable sales in your area in order to figure out what price is appropriate. If you’re a home seller, see Listing Your House: What List Price Should You Set?; and if you’re a buyer, see Home List Price: What Is a House Worth?.