Home prices climb as fastest rate in 6 ½ years – MarketWatch


By Steve Goldstein, MarketWatch

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — U.S. house prices in December were 8.3% higher than a year earlier, the strongest advance since May 2006, CoreLogic said Tuesday. But the data also show the considerable distance to go before the housing market reaches prerecession peaks.

he December monthly price gain was 0.4%.

CoreLogic said 46 of 50 states registered gains for the year. Arizona has the strongest year-on-year appreciation at 20.2%, though prices are down 39.8% there from the peak.

Nationally, prices are down 26.9% from the April 2006 peak.

CoreLogic’s pending index forecasts a 1% monthly drop in January, reflecting a seasonal winter slowdown.

Mortgage rates near record lows, a dwindling backlog of foreclosures, waning distressed-property activity and a slowly improving jobs market have all put a wind at housing’s back. Low inventories of both existing and new properties also has helped prices.

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