Home prices: Biggest rise in more than 2 years

In another sign of a housing market rebound, home prices posted the biggest percentage gain in more than two years in the third quarter, according to the closely followed S&P/Case-Shiller index.

 

The 3.6% increase from a year earlier is more than three times the rise in the previous quarter and was the biggest jump in prices since the second quarter of 2010. But that 2010 rise was much more of a temporary blip caused by a homebuyer’s tax credit of up to $8,000 on homes purchased in late 2009 and early 2010.
 

This latest rise comes as the housing market has shown numerous other signs of recovery in recent months. The rebound is spurred by a combination of record low mortgage rates, an improving jobs market and a drop in foreclosures to a five-year low, reducing the supply of distressed homes available. There is also a tighter supply of both new and previously owned homes on the market.

 

The improvement in housing market fundamentals have helped to lift the pace of both home sales and home building.

 

The latest rise in the Case-Shiller index was the second straight quarter of year-over-year improvement, while the monthly annual reading has climbed for four months in a row.

 

Home prices are now back to where they were in early 2003, before the housing bubble inflated over the next three years before bursting. Even with the recent gain, the index is down 28.6% from the peak level reached the first quarter of 2006.

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