A barometer of South Florida house prices increased in May for a 17th consecutive month. The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller index, released Tuesday, rose 14.2 percent from a year ago.
Case-Shiller measures Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties and 19 other major metropolitan areas. All 20 posted annual price gains, with Dallas and Denver exceeding peaks established before the Great Recession.
San Francisco led the nation with a 24.5 percent increase, followed by Las Vegas (23.3 percent) and Phoenix (20.6).
South Florida and much of the country have too little supply to satisfy intense demand. Investors are scooping up homes in large numbers, often shutting out first-time buyers looking to take advantage of still-low mortgage rates.
Despite the ongoing damage, South Florida accelerated its recovery in May. Case-Shiller showed property values up 14 percent for the last 12 months, its best yearly increase since May 2006. Compared to April 2013, values are up just under 1 percent in May. A tiny gain, for sure, but also the 17th straight month of increases. That's the best streak for South Florida in the Case-Shiller report since 82 months of straight gains ended in June 2006 as the pricing bubble in real estate was about to burst.
At its worst, South Florida real estate was down 51 percent on the Case-Shiller index. The trough came in November 2011.
Miami remains on average 41% off from its peak. Only Las Vegas at 51% as a larger difference in today's market.