WASHINGTON: US home prices rose in September, a fresh sign of recovery in the ailing housing market, S&P/Case-Shiller data released Tuesday showed.
The 20-city price index rose 0.3 percent from August, the eighth straight monthly increase, and was up 3.0 percent from a year ago.
Only two cities, New York and Chicago, had price declines on an annual basis, down 2.3 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively.
The September increase was another sign that the battered housing market's recovery is gaining traction, six years after a price crash.
Average home prices were back at mid-2003 levels, but measured from June-July 2006 peaks, they were about 29 percent lower.
"It is safe to say that we are now in the midst of a recovery in the housing market," said David Blitzer, head of the index committee.
The national price index for the third quarter was up 3.6 percent from the same period in 2011, and up 2.2 percent from the second quarter this year.
"House prices are benefiting from a strengthening national economy, a tightening supply of houses for sale, and a slump in the number of distressed homes for sale," said Michael Zoller at Moody's Analytics.
But Zoller said the pace of price rises would likely slow in the months ahead, as a large inventory of distressed homes remains in the market.
"An increase in distress sales later this year or in early 2013 appears likely."
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