Home Prices See Best Yearly Gain Since 2006

Single-family home prices rose in November, building on a string of gains that point to a housing market that is on the mend, data from a closely watched survey showed on Tuesday.

The S&P/Case Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas gained 0.6 percent in November on a seasonally adjusted basis, in line with economists' forecasts.

Prices in the 20 cities rose 5.5 percent year over year. It was the strongest year-over-year price increase since August 2006.

It was the 10th month in a row that prices have increased, the longest string of gains since before the market started to turn down in 2006. Last year's rise in prices beat a nine-month consecutive run in 2009 and 2010, when the market was boosted by the homeowner tax credit.

"Housing is clearly recovering," David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indexes, said in a statement.

Prices on a non-adjusted basis slipped 0.1 percent. The non-adjusted numbers showed prices fell in about half of the cities covered by the survey, with the winter months typically a weak period for housing, the survey said.

"This is continuing a trend in place for the better part of a year," said Omair Sharif, U.S. economist at RBS Securities in New York. "This is another indication that the housing rebound is fairly entrenched at this point."

Phoenix, which saw its housing market rebound sharply last year, led with the biggest yearly gain at 22.8 percent. New York was the only city to fall, down 1.2 percent from the previous year.

Financial markets saw little reaction to the data with Wall Street focused on the latest corporate earnings.

The housing market became a bright spot for the economy last year as prices rose and inventory tightened. The sector is expected to contribute to economic growth in 2013.


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