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U.S. home prices rise 5.1% in October

Home for sale
Home sales and prices have been helped by healthy demand, tight supplies and low mortgage rates. Above, a house for sale in Miami.
(Alan Diaz / Associated Press)

U.S. home prices rose again in October as buyers bidding for scarce properties drove prices higher.

The Standard & Poor’s CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index, released Tuesday, rose 5.1% in October from a year earlier after climbing 5% in September. Prices for the 20 cities are still 7.1% below their July 2006 peak.

The broader Case-Shiller national home price index was up 5.6% in October and has fully recovered from the financial crisis.

Prices rose 10.7% annually in Seattle, 10.3% in Portland and 8.3% in Denver. New York registered the smallest year-over-year gain: 1.7%. Los Angeles prices rose 5.7%. 

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Home sales and prices have been helped by healthy demand, tight supplies and low mortgage rates.

The National Assn. of Realtors said last week that fewer than 1.9 million homes were on the market in November, down 9% from a year earlier. The tight supply pushed the median price of existing homes to $234,900 last month, up 6.8% from a year earlier.

But the cheap loans may be vanishing. The rate on the benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage reached 4.30% last week, the highest since April 2014.

Rates have surged since Donald Trump won the Nov. 8 presidential election. Investors have bid rates higher because they believe the president-elect’s plans for tax cuts and higher infrastructure spending will drive up economic growth and inflation.

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And the Federal Reserve, citing improvement in the U.S. economy, raised short-term U.S. interest rates this month for only the second time in a decade. 

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