Home Prices in 20 U.S. Cities Increase by Most Since 2006
Home prices in 20 U.S. cities rose in the 12 months to December by the most in more than six years, a sign the housing-market recovery is strengthening.
The S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values increased 6.8 percent from December 2011, the biggest year-to-year gain since July 2006, after advancing 5.4 percent in November, a report showed today in New York. The median projection of 30 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 6.6 percent advance. Nineteen of 20 cities showed gains.
Near record-low borrowing costs and gains in employment are fueling demand and boosting property values as the number of houses on the market drops and foreclosures ease. The improvement is shoring up household net worth and confidence, which may underpin consumer spending even as an increase in the payroll tax reduces take-home pay.
Affordable borrowing costs are attracting buyers with adequate credit. The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage was at 3.56 percent in the week ended Feb. 21, close to the 3.31 percent in November that was the lowest in data going back to 1972.