06/04/2013 08:01 EDT | Updated 08/04/2013 05:12 EDT

U.S. Home Prices Jump 12.1 Per Cent In April, Biggest Gain In 7 Years

WASHINGTON - U.S. home prices soared 12.1 per cent in April from a year earlier, the biggest gain since February 2006, as more buyers competed for fewer homes.

Real estate data provider CoreLogic says prices rose in April from the previous April in 48 states. Price also rose 3.2 per cent in April from March, much better than the previous month-to-month gain of 1.9 per cent.

Prices in Nevada jumped 24.6 per cent from a year earlier, the most among the states. California's gain was next at 19.4 per cent, followed by Arizona's 17.3 per cent, Hawaii's 17 per cent and Oregon's 15.5 per cent.

More potential buyers have been seeking to purchase homes. But the number of homes for sale is 14 per cent lower than it was a year ago. The supply shortage has contributed to the price increases.

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Rising home prices can help sustain the housing recovery. They encourage more homeowners to put their homes on the market, as more grow confident that they can sell at a good price. And they spur would-be homeowners to buy before prices increase further.

Home sales and prices began to recover last year, six years after the housing bust. They have been buoyed by steady job gains and low mortgage rates.

Sales of previously occupied homes ticked up to a 3 1/2 year high in April, according to the National Association of Realtors. And they are likely to keep growing: A measure of signed contracts to buy homes rose to its highest level in three years in April. There is generally a one- to two-month lag between a signed contract and a completed sale.

The limited supply of homes has also made builders more willing to ramp up construction. That's creating more construction jobs. Applications for building permits rose in April to the highest level in nearly five years.

Prices rose in April from the previous year in 94 out of the 100 largest U.S. cities, CoreLogic said. That's up from 88 in the previous month.

Los Angeles and Phoenix reported the biggest price gains among the cities, CoreLogic said. Prices in both cities leapt 19.2 per cent compared with a year earlier.

They were followed by Atlanta and Riverside-San Bernardino, which both posted 16.5 per cent gains. Dallas rounded out the top five, with a 10.2 per cent increase.

Despite the large gains, home prices are more than 22 per cent below their April 2006 peak, the CoreLogic survey found.

In Nevada, they are still 47.3 per cent below their peak, and in Florida, prices are 40.5 per cent below peak levels.


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