U.S. home prices rise most in five months as markets strengthen

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Home prices in 20 U.S. cities rose at the best pace in five months in October, posting a second straight acceleration as real estate markets showed fresh strength at the start of the fourth quarter.

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller index of property values advanced 2.2% from October 2018, according to data released Tuesday that exceeded estimates in a Bloomberg survey of economists. A separate report from the Federal Housing Finance Agency showed home prices increased 0.2% in October from a month earlier after an upwardly revised gain of 0.7% in September.

Lower mortgage rates and a robust labor market have helped consumers remain upbeat, luring potential home buyers and helping to lift prices. Phoenix, Tampa and Charlotte led gains.

Other data this week pointed to further stabilization in the housing market. Contract signings to purchase previously owned U.S. homes increased in November for the third time in four months, National Association of Realtors data showed Monday.

Prices rose on an annual basis in 19 of the 20 cities in the composite measure. Phoenix led with a 5.8% increase, followed by a 4.9% gain in Tampa and 4.8% advance for Charlotte. San Francisco was the lone city to post a year-over-year decline.

Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had estimated a 2.1% annual gain.

The FHFA's data, derived from conforming mortgages, also showed that prices were up 5% in October from a year earlier.

Bloomberg News
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