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U.S. Home Prices Show Biggest Annual Increase In Two Years


Home prices in major U.S. metropolitan areas rose by a little more than economists had been expecting in the month of October, according to a report released by Standard & Poor's on Wednesday.

The report showed that the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Home Price Index rose by a seasonally adjusted 0.7 percent in October following a 0.4 percent increase in September. Economists had expected prices to increase by 0.5 percent.

Compared to the same month a year ago, the index was up by 4.3 percent versus economist estimates for a 4.1 percent increase.

The annual rate of growth in October reflected the biggest increase since May of 2010, when home prices were boosted by a homebuyer tax credit.

On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, the 20-City Composite Home Price Index edged down by 0.1 percent in October after inching up by 0.2 percent in September.

David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said, "Looking over this report, and considering other data on housing starts and sales, it is clear that the housing recovery is gathering strength."

"Higher year-over-year price gains plus strong performances in the southwest and California, regions that suffered during the housing bust, confirm that housing is now contributing to the economy," he added.

Thursday morning, the Commerce Department is scheduled to release a separate report on new home sales in the month of November. Economists expect new home sales to climb to an annual rate of 375,000 from 368,000 in the previous month.

The National Association of Realtors is also due to release its report on pending home sales in the month of November on Friday. The pending home sales index is expected to rise by 1.8 percent.

A pending home sale is one in which a contract was signed but not yet closed. Normally, it takes four to six weeks to close a contracted sale.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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