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Home Prices Gain Most In Seven Years

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WASHINGTON (6/26/13)--U.S. existing home prices for single-family homes surged in April, resulting in their biggest annual gain in seven years, according to the Standard & Poor's/Case Shiller Home Prices Indexes released Tuesday.

The composite index of 20 metropolitan areas indicates prices rose 12.1% year over year--exceeding forecasts and marking the largest annual gain since March 2006. The prices are a signal of growing momentum in the housing market recovery (The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Moody's Economy.com June 25).

Also, the 10-city composite index was 11.6% higher than last year and up from the 10.3% increase originally reported last month.

The housing recovery is absolutely "broad-based," David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said.

In a related matter, new U.S. home sales in May rose more than forecast--an ongoing indication of strength in a sector that is helping to stoke economic growth (Bloomberg.com and Moody's Economy.com June 25).

Sales last month increased 2.1% to an annualized rate of 476,000 homes, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. Economists had forecast 460,000 sales.