US home prices rose in the Tampa Bay area, and most other major cities in October compared with a year ago. However, prices slipped in October, compared to September's numbers.
The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller national home price index released Wednesday increased 4.3 percent in October compared with a year ago. That's the largest year-over-year increase in two and a half years, when a homebuyer tax credit temporarily boosted sales.
Prices rose in October from a year ago in 18 of 20 cities. Phoenix led all cities with a 21.7 percent gain, followed Detroit, where prices increased 10 percent. Prices declined in Chicago and New York.
In Tampa, prices were up 5.9% in the past year. From September to October, prices dropped by .5%. Monthly prices are not seasonally adjusted, so the decreases reflect the end of the peak buying season.
Still, the broader trend is encouraging. October marked the fifth straight month of year-over-year gains, after nearly two years of declines. Prices rose in mid-2010 in the final months before the tax credit expired. They had fallen sharply in 2008 and 2009.
"It is clear that the housing recovery is gaining strength," said David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indexes.
The S&P/Case-Shiller index covers roughly half of U.S. homes. It measures prices compared with those in January 2000 and creates a three-month moving average. The October figures are the latest available.
The pace of home construction slipped in November but was still nearly 22 percent higher than a year earlier. Builders are on track this year to start work on the most homes in four years.
Builder confidence rose in December for a seventh straight month to the highest level in more than 6½ years, according to a survey released last week by the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo.
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