US Housing Sector
The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) won't adopt a new restriction that could have prevented thousands of prospective home buyers from obtaining low-cost mortgages. REUTERS

U.S. home prices rose in August by the highest level in six years, signaling more improvement in the housing market, but gains could be diminished as fall begins, according to research firm CoreLogic Inc. (NYSE: CLGX).

Prices were up 4.6 percent in August compared to the prior year, the biggest increase since July 2006. Prices were up 0.3 percent compared to July in the sixth consecutive month of increases, said Irvine, Calif.-based CoreLogic.

“Sustained economic recovery in the U.S. requires a healthy housing market. You cannot have a healthy housing market without price stabilization and ultimately home price appreciation,” said Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic, in a statement. “Improving pricing trends over the past few months and our forecast for continued gains in September bode well for a progressive rebound in the residential housing market.”

Home prices are forecast to rise 5 percent in September compared to the prior year, but are expected to drop 0.3 percent month-over-month as the active summer season ends, said CoreLogic.

The states with the highest home price gains were Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, Utah and Hawaii. The states with the worst results were Rhode Island, Illinois, New Jersey, Alabama and Connecticut. Only six U.S. states saw prices fall in August compared to the prior year.

CoreLogic's data incorporates 6,768 ZIP codes, or around 58 percent of the U.S. population.