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Home prices rise in L.A. and O.C., Case-Shiller says

Home prices in Los Angeles and Orange counties rose 6.1% in April, according to a closely tracked gauge released Tuesday.

The 12-month gain from April 2014 was larger than a 4.2% pop seen nationally, the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller index showed.

The housing market has seen signs of improvement recently, with sales up both nationally and in Southern California. Economists and real estate agents say an improved job market is boosting demand, as is the expectation that the Federal Reserve will raise its short-term interest rate later this year.

Agents say the expected rate hike is pushing families to buy now to lock in low rates.

In May, Southern California home sales rose 5% from a year earlier, while the median price ticked up 2.2%, according to CoreLogic.

The Case-Shiller numbers out Tuesday lag behind other indicators such as CoreLogic's, but they are widely considered the most reliable reading on home values.

The index, created by economists Karl E. Case and Robert J. Shiller, compares the latest sales of detached houses with previous sales and accounts for factors such as remodeling.

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